The Community Right to Bid (Localism Act 2011: part 5, chapter 3, sub-section 87 – 108) aims to give local communities:
- early warning of the sale of land and buildings identified as having community value
- a fair chance to make a bid to buy the property on the open market if the property owner decides to sell.
The Council keeps a list of buildings and other lands in its area, which are of community value. This ensures that when such land is sold, local groups have the opportunity to delay the sale to enable them to prepare a bid to buy it.
The Community Right to Bid does not restrict:
- who the owner of the listed asset sells to
- the price the owner sells at
- what the owner can do with the property once listed.
Parish councils - as well as local, voluntary and community bodies - can nominate local land and buildings to be included in the list of assets of community value. This can include Council owned land and buildings.
The Council decides (with reference to regulations) whether a land or building(s) that has been nominated fits the definition of “community value”. The Council itself cannot nominate any land or building in its area to be included in the list.
For an asset to be listed, the group/organisation nominating has to demonstrate that its main use now, or in the recent past (usually within the last 5 years) contributes to the social wellbeing or cultural, recreational or sporting interests of the local community and that it will remain to be used this way.
Examples may include:
- village shops
- community centres
- playing fields.
Buildings used as private residences, offices and areas which haven’t had public access will not be included.
Who to contact
If possible, try to have an informal discussion with the landowners before nominating as they are in the best position to advise you of any plans for their property.
You can then download and complete nomination form for listing an asset as being of community value. This should be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nomination and review process
A policy statement /process is used for dealing with any nominations and reviews.
The Council will consider each submitted nomination form and supporting evidence and decide whether the asset is and/or will be of ‘community value’ and should be listed. This can take up to 8 weeks - during this time the parish council, ward councillors, owners, leasers, occupants and people with a legitimate interest will be informed of the request to list.
When an asset is listed, some restrictions on the owner come into force. If the owner decides to sell the asset they must inform the Council; an initial period of 6 weeks is provided to allow a community interest group (charity or body with a legal identity of their own, separate from members) to register an interest in making a bid to purchase the asset.
If the community decides not to submit a bid, the owner is free to dispose of the asset on the open market.
When an interest to bid is registered the asset cannot be sold for 6 months. This period starts from the date the owner informed the council they want to sell the asset. This time gives the group an opportunity to develop a proposal and raise the finance to bid for the asset. During this period the asset cannot be disposed of, unless it is to the community group.
It is important to note that the listing serves only to give a window of time for groups to prepare to bid alongside other potential buyers. The sale takes place under normal market conditions and the owner is under no obligation to sell to the community group. Equally, community groups that have registered an interest to bid are under no obligation to purchase.
If the owner does not receive a bid from the community or does not accept the offer during the 6 months period then the owner is free to dispose of the asset on the open market for a further 12 months, at the end of which the whole process begins again, if the property has not been sold.
Pages 3 and 5 of the DCLG non-statutory advice note for local authorities have diagrams of the processes for nominating an asset for inclusion on the list of asset of community value and the selling of a listed asset.
Review and appeal by an owner
An owner can request a review of the decision to include the asset on the list.
They have the right to appeal by:
- an internal review by the local authority (the Council)
- appeal to an independent tribunal.
The appeal deadline is 28 days from the date on which the notice of the decision was sent to the owner. The asset remains listed during the appeal process.
If an owner is successful in their appeal at internal review or the tribunal, the asset must be moved to the list of unsuccessful nominations. The regulations do not state how long unsuccessful nominations must remain on the list.
Sale/transfer of an asset
Nothing happens once an asset is listed, unless and until the owner wants to dispose of it. Once it is on the list, the owner is free to do what they want with the asset whilst it is in their ownership. If an application for change of use is submitted, it will be the Council (as the local planning authority) who will decide whether listing as an asset of community value is a material consideration.
If an asset that the Council has listed is put up for sale, the owner/seller must inform the Council and the 6 month delay period will be triggered. The community will have an initial 6 weeks to inform the Council if they are to bid for the asset. During the 6 month period the asset cannot be sold. There are exceptions for when the 6 month period and the Community Right to Bid will not take effect, for example:
- if the disposal is a gift
- if the disposal is made between members of the same family
- if the land or building being disposed of is part of a bigger estate
- if the disposal is of a building or piece of land on which going-concern business is operating, provided that the sale is to a new owner to continue the same business (for example if an owner of a pub wants to sell the pub to a new owner who intends to continue running it as a pub).
If a property is added to the list the owner may be able to claim compensation for loss or expenses incurred as a direct result of complying with the requirements on sale. This is only available to private owners and not public bodies. Claims must be in writing and the responsibility of proving the claim is with the owner.
- All ward members will be notified and consulted on nominations received before they are considered by the Council. Ward members will be able to make written representations to the planning manager (development management) and will be notified of the decision. When the planning manager (development management) is considering nominations, this is not in the form of a public meeting. All written correspondence received from interested bodies would be considered.
- If a decision is made to list a property, the owner of that property may seek a review and appeal the decision. The review/appeal would be determined by the director of growth and development in consultation with the executive member for regeneration and the executive member for resources. Ward members will be notified of any such review/appeal and will also be notified of the outcome.
- A property owner can claim compensation for any loss or expense incurred as a result of complying with the requirements (for example during the sale of the property). The head of property and projects will look into and decide on such claims - before agreeing on any payment of compensation, he will consult with the director of finance and the executive member for resources.
- Council owned property may also be nominated and would need to be considered under the same process. If a conflict of interest arises, ward members will need to seek advice from the Council's legal department.
- If a property owner is dissatisfied with the Council’s internal review/appeal, they may appeal to a first tier tribunal. This would be an appeal against the Council’s decision.