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Community Right to Bid (Assets of Community Value)

The Community Right to Bid gives community organisations the chance to bid, and if successful purchase and take over the running of assets that are of value to the local community.

Summary

Voluntary and community organisations can nominate both privately and publicly owned assets to be included on a list of assets of community value. This list is managed by the council. When a landowner wants to sell such a property, they must tell the council. If a community group wants to buy the asset, they can trigger a 6 month moratorium period from the date the property is placed on the market to give them a chance to prepare a bid for it. Community groups will need to confirm to the Council their wish to make a bid within 6 weeks of the property owner putting the property on the market. During this period, the owner cannot sell their property on the open market. This gives community groups an increased chance to save much loved shops, pubs or other local facilities by developing a proposal and raising the required capital.

At the end of the 6-month period, the owner is free to sell the asset to whoever they wish and at any price.

 

Nominations

Who can nominate an asset of community value?
The Council can only consider nominations from certain organisations. These are:

  • Parish and Town Councils;
  • Unincorporated bodies – with at least 21 individual members who appear on the
    Borough Council’s electoral roll;
  • Neighbourhood forums – as described in the Town and Country Planning Act
    1990;
  • The following categories of Community Interest Groups (with a local connection):
    • A charity
    • A community interest company
    • A company limited by guarantee that is non-profit distributing (In this context non-profit distributing means that any surplus is not distributed to its members but is wholly or partly applied to the Bedford Borough Council area or to a neighbouring local authority area.)
    • An industrial and provident society that is non-profit distributing

 

The groups listed will need to demonstrate a local connection such as their activities are wholly, or partly, concerned with the Borough Council’s area or with a neighbouring local authority area.

See the guidance notes below for a full list of criteria.


How to nominate an asset of community value?
A nomination has to include certain information. To ensure that you comply with the requirements, please use the Assets of Community Value nomination form (excel doc, 81 KB - opens new window).
The nomination must include:

  • the address of the property
  • details of the owner and current occupants
  • the extent of the site and its proposed boundaries
  • why you feel it is an asset of community value.
  • an explanation of how the community organisation will viably acquire and manage the asset, including bringing the asset back into the desired community use if it has recently closed or ceased to function in that way
  • evidence of your eligibility to nominate, as outlined above 


Send completed nomination forms to: ownership@bedford.gov.uk or by post:
Community Right to Bid, Property Services, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP

What counts as an ‘asset of community value’?
A building or piece of land is deemed to have community value if:

  • the use of the building or land currently, or in the recent past, furthers the social well-being or cultural, recreational or sporting interests of the local community
  • this use (as described above) of the building or land will continue to further the social well-being or interests of the local community
  • the use of the building or land must not be deemed ‘ancillary’, ie of secondary purpose. This means that the use of the land or building to further social well-being or interests of the community must be its principal use.

What happens following nomination?
Once we have received the completed nomination form, we will check the technical issues such as the eligibility of the nomination and the organisation making the nomination, completeness of the information supplied, and that the asset is not in an excluded category. The council has to decide whether or not to list the asset, within eight weeks following the nomination submission.

Decisions as to whether the nominated assets are of community value will be made by a specially convened officer group.

Assets that are considered to be of community value will then be added to the ‘List of Assets of Community Value’. Assets will remain on the list for five years and a land charge will be registered against the property. When the five years have expired, an eligible community organisation can submit a new nomination.

The council will take all practicable steps to notify the owner and lawful occupants that it is considering listing the property. We will also notify these people of the outcome of the nomination.
The organisation which originally nominated the asset will be notified of the outcome, together with reasons if the application is unsuccessful. They will also be notified if the asset is subsequently removed from the list, following a review of the decision.

If the nominated asset is not considered to be an asset of community value, or if the nomination was ineligible, we will provide an explanation as to why it was unsuccessful to the organisation which made the nomination. In such circumstances, the property will be added to the list of ‘List of unsuccessful applications, assets of community value’ and will remain on the list for five years.

If we decide to list a property, the property owner can ask for a review and this will be determined by an Officer of appropriate seniority who did not take part in the decision to list.  There are rights of appeal in the event that the original decision is not changed as a result of the review . Nominators are not able to ask for a review  or appeal regarding the decision made in respect of their nomination.

List of assets of community value

Viewing the lists
Nominated assets will been included on one of the two lists below:

List of Assets of Community Value 

List of unsuccessful applications - Assets of Community value


What happens when an asset is listed?
The owner of the property must advise us when they intend to sell the property and we will publicise this on our website and we will inform the nominator. If no community interest group notifies the council within six weeks that it wishes to bid, the owner is free to sell their property as they see fit.

If an eligible community interest group notifies the council within six weeks that it wishes to bid for the property, it will have up to six months in which to prepare its case.


Bids by community interest groups

Who can bid?
Only community interest groups that meet the Government's criteria can bid; not all groups that are eligible to nominate are also eligible to bid.

Community interest groups should have a local connection with the asset and be one or more of the following: a parish council, a registered charity, a community interest company, a company limited by guarantee or an industrial and provident society.

Full details of the eligibility criteria can be found in our guidance notes for voluntary and community groups interested in nominating assets of community value (pdf, 56 KB)(opens new window) and in the Act and the Regulations.

If more than one community interest group is interested in purchasing the property, we would encourage the groups to work together.

How do community groups bid?
Within six weeks from the council notifying the community that an owner wishes to sell their listed property, an eligible community interest group would need to let the council know in writing that it wishes to bid. This then opens a six month period (from the day the owner notified the council) in which to prepare a bid; this is known as the moratorium period.

The council will acknowledge the request to bid and will notify the owner that the moratorium has been triggered.

The status of the listed asset on the list will be changed to reflect that it is for sale and that the moratorium has been triggered.

Support available
Funded by the Department for Communities, Locality is a leading network for community-led organisations, bringing together all strands of the partner organisations involved in the Community Rights support service. They have created a web site called My Community Rights.
Community Right to Bid (Link to website:My Community Rights - opens new window).

Contact information
Property Services
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford
MK42 9AP

Email: property@bedford.gov.uk
Tel: 01234 276895


Useful Links:
Communities and Local Government: A plain English guide to the Localism Act (link to PDF, 306KB - opens new window)
Localism Act 2011 -  (opens new window)

Bedford Borough Council Key Plans and Strategies (link to page - opens new window)

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