Agenda item

Community Right to Bid (Assets of Community Value) Policy

Decision:

RESOLVED:

 

KEY DECISION

 

That the Executive approved the Community Right to Bid (Assets of Community Value) Policy.

 

 

The reasons for the recommendation are:

 

·         The Council has a legal responsibility to process and maintain a list of assets of community value, the policy and processes support the council in discharging this obligation.

 

·         Adopting the policy provides for a consistent and transparent approach to be administered which reduces the risks associated with such decisions.

 

·         Adopting the policy supports the Council’s Corporate Plan.

 

Alternative Options Considered: The Council has a statutory duty to keep a record of assets that have been nominated as community assets and, for the successfully listed assets, provide regulatory oversight to ensure that a moratorium is provided for should the owner decide to sell the asset. Additionally, the considerations for determining if an asset of community value should be listed are defined by legislation. The Council therefore has limited alternative options to deviate from the proposed policy structure.  

 

Minutes:

Cllr Graham Lawman, Executive Member for Highways, Travel and Assets introduced a report that sought Executive approval for a Community Right to Bid (Assets of Community Value) Policy.

 

Cllr Lawman noted that Assets of Community Value was another scheme arising from the 2011 Localism Act, with the Council having responsibility for determining applications.

 

It was noted that applications could apply to any land or building in North Northamptonshire that was nominated by an eligible group.The main purpose of the legislation was to provide a degree of protection to community facilities from being redeveloped for alternative uses against the wishes of the local community.

 

Details of the processes involved in the nomination and listing of Assets of Community Value were provided to the meeting, with members noting that legislation prescribed who could nominate an asset and the criteria to be considered as part of the application. Ward councillor, parish council and asset owner consultation would also be included. The meeting heard that clear evidence to substantiate the application was required, with the burden being on the nominator to provide this evidence. The policy had been developed to support groups in considering this. 

 

Once the listing of an asset had been approved, an obligation was placed on the owner of the asset to notify the Council if it decided to sell the asset within the five-year listing period. This notification would trigger an initial six-week moratorium on sale during which a community group could submit an expression of interest. This, in turn, would trigger a six-month moratorium during which no sale could proceed while the community group could work up plans to bid for the property. The Council’s role was to administer the moratorium process rather than be involved in the bid development, sale process or terms.

 

It was noted that legislation placed no obligation on the owner to engage with a community group or give preferential treatment to a group’s bid and at the end of the six-month moratorium the owner could dispose of the asset as they saw fit. The policy also provided appeal and compensation processes, which followed legislation.

 

The meeting heard that the Council was required to keep a record of Asset of Community Value decisions, with existing lists from former sovereign councils consolidated into one and put on the Council website.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

KEY DECISION

 

That the Executive approved the Community Right to Bid (Assets of Community Value) Policy.

 

 

The reasons for the recommendation are:

 

·         The Council has a legal responsibility to process and maintain a list of assets of community value, the policy and processes support the council in discharging this obligation.

 

·         Adopting the policy provides for a consistent and transparent approach to be administered which reduces the risks associated with such decisions.

 

·         Adopting the policy supports the Council’s Corporate Plan.

 

Alternative Options Considered: The Council has a statutory duty to keep a record of assets that have been nominated as community assets and, for the successfully listed assets, provide regulatory oversight to ensure that a moratorium is provided for should the owner decide to sell the asset. Additionally, the considerations for determining if an asset of community value should be listed are defined by legislation. The Council therefore has limited alternative options to deviate from the proposed policy structure.  

 

Supporting documents: