The ‘Assets of Community Value’ / ‘Community Right to Bid’ scheme was introduced by the Government in the Localism Act 2011 and came into force in September 2012.
The aim of the Right is to give community groups time to make realistic bids to buy land or buildings that are of importance to the local community when they come up for sale.
Under the Community Right to Bid, community groups are able to nominate non-residential buildings or land within their communities as 'assets of community value' which cannot be sold without the community group being given the opportunity to put together a bid to purchase the asset.
A building or other land is an asset of community value if its main use has recently been or is presently used to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community and could do so in the future. The Localism Act states that 'social interests' include cultural, recreational and sporting interests. The regulations list a number of situations where land or buildings are exempted from inclusion on the list or operation of the moratorium. These include homes, hotels, assets being transferred between kindred businesses, and Church of England land holdings. It is expected that the Community Right to Bid could be used to nominate land and buildings such as village shops, public houses, former schools, swimming pools and public open space. These might currently be owned by the local authority or another public body, but they could also be owned by a private company or an individual.
A number of community organisations can nominate land and buildings for inclusion on the list: parish councils, neighbourhood forums (as defined in neighbourhood planning regulations), unconstituted community groups of at least 21 members, not-for-private-profit organisations (e.g. charities). The full detail of eligible groups is available in regulations 4, 5 and 12 of the Assets of Community Value regulations.
The Nomination Form for listing as an Asset of Community Value can be completed online from our Nomination Form page.
Once a nomination has been received, the Council has eight weeks in which to consider it and reach a decision on whether or not it is valid and a listing should be made. The Council will tell the owners and occupiers of the property when they receive a nomination. If the nomination meets the Government's requirements, it will be included on a list of assets of community value for five years and recorded as a local land charge. The owners and occupiers of the asset will also be informed. If the nomination does not meet the criteria, it will be included on a list of unsuccessful nominations and the owners and occupiers will be informed. If a nomination is unsuccessful, the council will write to the nominator giving reasons why.
Property owners can request a review of the listing of their asset. This can be done by writing to the Council's Legal Services Corporate Manager at the address above. The review will look at whether the asset should be removed from the list of assets of community value or remain.
If the owner of a listed asset wants to sell it they must inform the local authority of their intention to do so in writing (unless it falls into one of the excluded categories). The council will then write to the community group who listed the asset to inform them that it is coming up for sale, and that an interim moratorium period of 6 weeks has been triggered, and invite them or any other eligible community interest group to make an expression of interest in bidding during this 6 weeks.
If no expressions of interest are received, the asset owner can go ahead with selling it after the 6 weeks has ended. If an expression of interest is received, the council will then extend the moratorium period to a total of 6 months from when the owner gave notice of their intention to sell. The owner cannot conclude a sale of their property unless it is an exempt disposal, or the disposal is to an eligible community group.
The Community Right to Bid does not give a right of first refusal to community groups to buy a listed asset. And at the end of the moratorium period the owner can sell the asset for whatever price they wish to whoever they want. What the scheme does do, however, is that it provides a window of time for community groups to pull together the funding necessary to bid to buy the asset on the open market.
Where can I find out more information?
The My Community Rights website is recommended for all round advice and guidance on all the Community Rights. It has information on Funding and other sources of Support.
The other links below are for: