Assets of community value
The Localism Act 2011 now allows defined community groups to ask their local authority to list assets that meet the relevant criteria as being of 'community value'. The aim is to create more opportunities for local groups to bid for buildings and land defined as community assets when the owner wishes to sell them, enabling them opportunity to preserve facilities that are important to them.
What is an asset of community value?
The Act defines land or a building is an asset of community value if:
- its actual or current use (or there was a time in the recent past when its use) furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community, and
it is realistic to think that there can continue to be (or it is realistic to think that there is a time in the next five years when there could be) non-ancillary use of the building or land that would further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.
Non-ancillary means a group could not nominate a building and just use a part of the building – they would have to use the full building. For example, in the case of a large building with a small annex on the back, anyone wishing to nominate would have to nominate for the main use of the building – not the annex.
There are certain assets that cannot be listed. These are set out below:
- A residential property together with any land connected to that residential property, as defined in the regulations
- Land that requires a site licence under Part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960
- Operational land as defined in section 263 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990(c).
What happens once an asset is listed?
If an asset is listed it will remain listed for five years and the owner must notify the local authority when intending to dispose of a listed asset, which will trigger a moratorium period. During this time, community interest groups can apply to be treated as potential bidders. The owner will be able to begin the sale process as usual, after a six week moratorium period, if no community interest groups have come forward as a potential bidder.
If a written intention to bid is received during that initial period, then a full six month moratorium period will take place which gives community groups time to prepare a bid and generate the necessary funds.
The sale itself takes place under normal market conditions and whilst the community group will be given an opportunity to submit a bid, the owner is not bound to accept it.
Who can nominate?
The following organisations are eligible to nominate assets:
- A properly-designated Neighbourhood Forum
- A Parish Council
- An unincorporated body
(i) Whose members include at least 21 individuals, and
(ii) Which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members
- A charity
- A company limited by guarantee which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members
- An industrial and provident society which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members or
- A community interest company
The nominating group will also need to have a local connection with the asset, which means the group must demonstrate that its activities are wholly or partly concerned with the West Lancashire borough or with a neighbouring authority which shares a boundary.
How to make a community nomination
If you want to nominate a building or area of land as an asset of community value, please download and complete our nomination form (PDF, 214kb) in accordance with our guidance notes (PDF, 139kb) and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A decision on whether or not to list an asset will be made within eight weeks of receipt of a fully completed nomination form from an eligible organisation.
If successful, the asset will be placed on the list of successful nominations (PDF, 418kb)
Unsuccessful nominations will also be published on the list of unsuccessful nominations (PDF, 410kb).