A plain English guide to the Localism Act
Every town, village or neighbourhood is home to buildings or amenities that play a vital role in local life. They might include community centres, libraries, swimming pools, village shops, markets or pubs. Local life would not be the same without them, and if they are closed or sold into private use, it can be a real loss to the community.
In many places across the country, when local amenities have been threatened with sale or closure, community groups have taken them over. In some cases, however, community groups who have attempted to take assets over have faced significant challenges. They often need more time to organise a bid and raise money than the private enterprises bidding against them.
The Localism Act requires local authorities to maintain a list of assets of community value which have been nominated by the local community. When listed assets come up for sale or change of ownership, the Act then gives community groups the time to develop a bid and raise the money to bid to buy the asset when it comes on the open market. This will help local communities keep much-loved sites in public use and part of local life.
Why was this legislation Created
People value their local facilities; however in many local areas these have been closing down, leaving towns and villages without vital amenities such as local shops, pubs, libraries and leisure centres. Community groups that want to take over these and run these and other local assets or transform them into new uses, find that they lack the time and resources to prepare to buy them and cannot compete against other bidders, often losing those amenities permanently.
Government intervention will give communities the time to bid to buy and manage these assets. This will enhance the sustainability and local independence of those communities, as they are able to use more viable business models unavailable to private or public sector owners or operators. These new opportunities will encourage culture change in communities which take on these assets, contributing to long term behavioural change where individuals take increasing responsibilities within their own communities.
Legal Definition of Asset of Community Value
Localism Act 2011 – Part 5 – Chapter 3
(1)For the purposes of this Chapter but subject to regulations under subsection (3), a building or other land in a local authority’s area is land of community value if in the opinion of the authority—
(a)an actual current use of the building or other land that is not an ancillary use furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community, and
(b)it is realistic to think that there can continue to be non-ancillary use of the building or other land which will further (whether or not in the same way) the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.
(2)For the purposes of this Chapter but subject to regulations under subsection (3), a building or other land in a local authority’s area that is not land of community value as a result of subsection (1) is land of community value if in the opinion of the local authority—
(a)there is a time in the recent past when an actual use of the building or other land that was not an ancillary use furthered the social wellbeing or interests of the local community, and
(b)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 other land that would further (whether or not in the same way as before) the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.
In the opinion of the authority
Their is no pre defined rule of what defines that a building or land is an asset of community Value and has been loosely worded in the legislation to put the decision firmly in the opinion of the authority which has seen this section of the localism act attract more legal challenge then any other from the Localism Act 2011.
This has resulted listing for assets that the law makers could not have envisioned with everything from pubs and shops all the way to waste disposal sites & signal boxes being listed as an Asset of Community Value. This however has also resulted in uncertainty and confusion of what is an Asset of Community Value for all concerned.
An ACV has been filed to stop development
Also known as an vexatious request is very common scenario where the local community nominate for example a pub (the most common nomination type) in there fight to stop development, infact its even an encouraged strategy by campaigners.
Although frustrating for property owners is perfectly legal under the definition of the legislation. As the aim of the legislation is to give the community the optiunity to bid to buy the property if the asset comes up for sale.
Why Choose Us
We aim to provide an efficient, professional service, utilising our skills, experience and knowledge of the Right To Bid Legislation to your best advantage. We aim to provide honest advice about the merits of your case, and the best means of achieving success.