Community Asset Transfer is about giving local people and community groups greater control in the future of their area and their community.
If local groups own or manage community buildings, such as community centres or village halls, it can give them a real asset base to support their development. It can also play a part in improving the skills of the people involved and encourage a stronger community spirit by bringing people from different backgrounds together to work towards a shared goal.
We have developed a Community Asset Transfer Strategy to give us a transparent framework to enable the transfer of building assets to the community, primarily through long-leasehold or in some circumstances freehold arrangements to voluntary or community organisations.
To express your interest in the Community Asset Transfer please complete the following online application.
Assets of Community Value
The Localism Act contains a number of provisions relating to new community rights. The community rights are aimed at helping to create the conditions for communities to play a bigger part in shaping the world around them including shaping and running local services through the Community Right to Challenge, taking over local assets of community value through the Community Right to Bid, community-led development using the Community Right to Build, or adopting a neighbourhood plan under neighbourhood planning.
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. The community value element is if the asset furthers, or has recently furthered, the social well-being or social interests (which include cultural, sporting or recreational interests) of the local community and are likely to do so in the future. Where an asset is listed as being of community value Government believes that the process of a Community Right to Bid will enable the community to have a fairer chance of buying that asset on the open market.
The new right does not confer a right to buy or a right of first refusal but introduces, in certain circumstances, a moratorium on disposal of the asset. The Community Right to Bid was introduced under part 5 chapter 3 of the Localism Act 2011 and is subject to regulations (The Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012) which came into force on the 21 September 2012. A non-statutory advice note to local authorities on the Community Right to Bid was issued on the 4 October 2012.
What is an Asset of Community Value?
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.
Who can nominate Assets of Community Value?
A number of types of community organisations can nominate land and buildings for inclusion on the list; parish councils, neighbourhood forums (as defined by Neighbourhood Planning regulations), unconstituted community groups of at least 21 members, not for private profit organisations (e.g. charities).
Community organisations also have to have a local connection, which means their activities are wholly or partly concerned with the area, or with a neighbouring authority’s area.
Further, more detailed, information on who can nominate is available on request.
How is an asset nominated?
The nomination of an asset must be made in a way set out in the regulations and therefore the nomination of an asset to be treated as land of community value must contain:
- A description of the nominated land and its proposed boundaries
- A statement of all the information which the nominator has with regard to – a. the names of the current occupants of the land, and b. the names and current or last known addresses of all those holding a freehold or leasehold interest in the land
- The nominator’s reasons for thinking that the responsible authority should conclude that the land is of community value; and
- Evidence that the nominator is eligible to make a community nomination.
Please email Land Charges at email: [email protected] to nominate an asset.
What happens when an asset is nominated?
If the asset is properly nominated the local authority has 8 weeks to make a judgement about whether the asset meets the definition of an asset of community value or whether it should otherwise be excluded. Exclusions are set out in schedule 1 of the Regulations but generally provide for the exclusion of assets that are used as residences, land in respect of which a site licence is required under Part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 and operational land as defined in section 263 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (3). This does not mean that assets that happen to contain a residency, such as a public house or post office with living accommodation, are excluded.
If therefore the asset is properly nominated, is in the local authority’s area, and meets the definition of an asset of community value then the local authority must notify the owner and place the asset on the list and on the local land charges register, and, in the case of registered land, apply for a restriction on the Land Register. Local authorities must also inform any freeholders and leaseholders of the asset who are not the “owners”, as defined in the legislation, together with the parish council that the land lies in, that an asset has been added to, or removed from, the list.
Where an owner objects to the inclusion of their property being placed on the list they will have a right of internal review by the council. If the owner remains in disagreement with the listing after the internal review they have a right of appeal to an Independent Tribunal (First-Tier Tribunal).
Where an authority itself disagrees with the asset nominated for inclusion on the list, or the asset is in an excluded category, they must place the asset on a list to be known as the list of land nominated by unsuccessful community nominations – this also applies to any assets whereby an owner has successfully appealed against inclusion of an asset on the list. In other words the asset would be de-listed from the list of assets of community value and placed onto the list of assets unsuccessfully nominated. It is envisaged that this process would prevent multiple applications about the same assets being dealt with over again.
List of Assets of Community Value