Community right to bid summary
Who can do what?
This new right means communities can ask the Council to list certain assets as being of value to the community. If an asset is listed and then comes up for sale, the new right will give communities that want it 6 months to put together a bid to buy it. This gives communities an increased chance to save much loved shops, pubs or other local facilities.
Parish councils or local community groups can nominate both privately and publicly owned assets which meet the definition of community value.
A building or land in the Reigate and Banstead Council area must be listed as an asset of community value if:
- current primary use of the building/land or use of the building/land in the recent past furthers the social well-being or social interests (cultural, recreational, or sporting interests) of the local community
- it is realistic to think that now or in the next five years there could continue to be primary use of the building/land which will further the social well-being or social interests of the local community (whether or not in the same way as before)
Owners of listed assets cannot dispose of them without:
- letting the Council know that they intend to sell the asset or grant a lease of more than 25 years
- waiting until the end of a six week ‘interim moratorium’ period if the Council does not receive a request from a community interest group to be treated as a potential bidder
- waiting until the end of a six month ‘full moratorium’ period if the local authority does receive a request from a community interest group to be treated as a potential bidder
The owner does not have to sell the asset to the community group.
There is also a ‘protected period’ (18 months from the time that the owner notified the local authority of their intention to dispose of the asset) – during this time there can be no further moratoriums.
What sort of things can be listed as an Asset of Community Value?
Certain types of property are excluded from being listed, such as purely residential property, land licensed for use as a residential caravan site and the operational property of statutory undertakers (such as key road and rail networks). Although the Act notes that “social interests” includes “cultural, recreational and sporting interests” the phrase “social well-being” can apply to a much broader set of activities. Assets of Community Value might therefore include any land or building where the main purpose is as below - although this is not meant as an exhaustive or definitive list.
The provision of public services directly to the public for the purposes of education, health and wellbeing or community safety.
This could include:
- Nurseries and children’s centres
- Health centres, surgeries and hospitals
Sport, recreation and culture
This could include:
- Parks and open green spaces
- Sports grounds
- Theatres and cinemas
- Swimming pools Community services This could include:
- Community centres
- Youth centres
Any economic use (e.g. a business such as a shop) which also provides an important social benefit to the local settlement, which if lost would not otherwise be readily available. It is the social value of the business to the local community that counts, not just the nature of the business. This could include:
- Village shops
- Village pubs
Before nominating it is important to consider the current ownership of the land and other safeguards that may already be in place.
Church of England owned churches, although not excluded from listing in the legislation, will be exempt from the sale moratoria being applied under the Localism Act, as the Church has its own separate and lengthy consultation process set out in legislation for the closure and sale of its property
Property which is already in community ownership or owned by a charitable trust is also likely to be eligible for listing, depending on its use. However, charitable assets are already protected by an asset lock that limits how trustees can apply their funds, and prevent charitable funds being used for private benefit. In the event that a charity is wound up, all assets must go to a charity with similar objectives.
The advice note published by the government provides detailed information on:
- The bodies that can make nominations (such as local parish councils and groups with a local connection)
- The steps that the Council has to take when considering to list land as an asset of community value and upon listing that land (such as notifying relevant parties and consulting the parish council)
- Arrangements for owners to make appeals on decisions to list or award compensation on any losses incurred as a result of being listed (including internal reviews and external tribunals)
- Exemptions to the 6 month moratorium being applied when land is put up for sale or long term lease (which includes sales for continuing education and health use, for example).
A decision will be made within 8 weeks of the receipt of nomination on whether to list the asset. The asset will then be placed on the List of Assets of Community Value or the List of Unsuccessful Community Nominations. There is a separate list of nominations currently being considered (Nominations Received – Decision Pending). These lists can all be viewed on the Council’s Community Right to Bid Scheme webpage.
Who to contact
It is recommended that if possible, you have an informal discussion with the landowners prior to nominating, as they are best placed to advise you of any plans for their property. If you are unsure whether the property would be eligible for listing as an asset of community value, please contact 01737 276064. Following this, a Nomination Form for listing an asset as being of community value is available on the website, which should be completed and returned to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that any information provided as part of the application may be copied and passed onto the owner of the asset you are nominating and made available under access to information requirements.