From local pubs and shops to village halls and community centres, the past decade has seen many communities lose local amenities and buildings that are of great importance to them. As a result they find themselves bereft of the assets that can help to contribute to the development of vibrant and active communities. However on a more positive note, the past decade has also seen a significant rise in communities becoming more active and joining together to save and take over assets which are significant for them.
Part 5 Chapter 3 of the Localism Act, and the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations, which together deliver the Community Right to Bid, aim to encourage more of this type of community-focused, locally-led action by providing an important tool to help communities looking to take over and run local assets.
The scheme will give communities the opportunity to identify assets of community value and have them listed and, when they are put up for sale, more time to raise finance and prepare to bid for them. This scheme requires an excellent understanding of the needs of the local community.
The provisions give local groups a right to nominate a building or other land for listing by the local authority as an asset of community value. It can be listed if a principal (“non-ancillary”) use of the asset furthers (or has recently furthered) their community’s social well-being or social interests (which include cultural, sporting or recreational interests) and is likely to do so in the future. When a listed asset is to be sold, local community groups will in many cases have a fairer chance to make a bid to buy it on the open market.