Guide to Assets of Community Value and the Community Right to Bid
How you can nominate an asset, what this means for owners and what happens if an asset comes up for sale.
Local Authorities are obliged to keep a list of Assets of Community Value (ACV) in their area. These are land or buildings the authority considers to have community value because either the primary or main current use(s) of the land furthers the social well-being or social interests of the local community or it is realistic to think that the land can continue to be used in a way that will further the social well-being or social interests of the local community (in the same way as it did previously or in another way).
The Assets of Community Value list includes a list of property and land that the council considers to be an ACV and a list of unsuccessful nominations.
In order to nominate a building or piece of land as an ACV, there are important things that you will need to consider. ~
We encourage you to read this guidance either before or as you work through submission of a nomination.
What does it mean?
If the asset is listed and it comes up for sale, then community groups will have six weeks to express an interest in buying the asset. Once an expression of interest is received the owner will be unable to sell the asset to other than a community group for six months (the moratorium period). This allows a community group time to prepare a bid for the asset. At the end of the six months the owner can sell the asset to any potential purchaser free of the nomination. There is no obligation to sell the asset to a community group, and they may not force a sale. Nor are they entitled to a preferential price and must offer market value.
What is a valid nomination?
You will firstly need to prove that the nomination is being made by a group or organisation that is eligible to make a nomination under the Localism Act and the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012. These groups are set out in the Regulations and they include parish or town councils, charities, companies limited by guarantee, as well as community interest groups. Community interest groups can be formed by a group of at least 21 people who are registered as electors in the district or a neighbouring district.
A larger national or county organisation may not make a nomination on behalf of their local membership and accordingly details of the membership of these groups will be checked. A group must check that their memorandum of association or constitution does not permit the distribution of any funds to members if the group is to be eligible. A company limited by guarantee must make sure that they provide authority to a local branch to establish that the local branch can submit a nomination on their behalf.
Is the property or land suitable for nomination?
Most types of building or land can be subject to a nomination, whether they are privately or publicly owned. However, some types cannot be nominated including:
- any premises that are primarily residential,
- a place of worship
If the asset is owned by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) or another public body, it may be useful to discuss alternative options with the council and it will only be in exceptional circumstances that land already owned by a nominator will be listed as an ACV.
Listing as an ACV does not protect land from development in a way that heritage listing may sometimes achieve.
What are the criteria?
We will assess your nomination against the criteria set out in the Localism Act which says:
"A building or land in our area will be listed as an Asset of Community Value if in the opinion of the local authority:
- if the current primary use of the building or land, or use of the building or land in the recent past, furthers or has furthered the social wellbeing or social interest of the local community
- it is realistic to think that now or in the next five years there could be continued primary use of the building or land to further social wellbeing or social interests of the local community (whether or not in the same way)"
Both elements of this test must be met.
Please check the criteria in the legislation in full before applying. Read the Localism Act 2011 Part 5 Chapter 3 - Assets of Community Value on legislation.gov.uk.
The process is administered in accordance with The Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012.
Provision of supporting information or evidence
It is the responsibility of the nominating body to demonstrate and evidence the use of the property or land. This should be provided as part of the submission. It is not sufficient to simply list a series of sites already registered as ACVs or give a general explanation of what, for example, public houses contribute to a community.
It is for the nominator to provide detailed information to show how a potential ACV is used, who uses it and whether that usage is realistically likely to continue. That information should be provided in the form of documents from the users themselves, and not by the nominator on their behalf.
See Assets of Community Value - criterion for examples of different types of information and if you wish to discuss the type of supporting information which may be appropriate please email email@example.com
The council is not required by the regulations to conduct further research and the nominator must therefore provide enough information to prove their case.
Once an asset is listed an owner can lodge a request for a review of the initial decision to list the asset. Nominators do not have a similar right to a review of a refusal and the council's decision is final.
This review may take place with or without an oral review hearing, and only the owner can request such a hearing.
If the review decision maker decides to retain the asset on the list of Assets of Community Value, the owner can appeal to the General Regulatory Tribunal.
Where a property on the "unsuccessful nominations" list is nominated again
Where a property was previously nominated as an Asset of Community Value and that nomination was unsuccessful, the same property can be re-nominated.
However, the council is not obliged to re-consider a case where the second nomination is in identical terms to the first and the applicant must produce additional, new evidence.
If a different nomination is made, then it will be considered on the merits.
The council will expect a nominator to justify and evidence the differences from the previously unsuccessful nomination, explaining why the new nomination means that we should reach a different decision.
You must include that material with the nomination.
Please check the Assets of Community Value list before applying.
The effect of listing an asset
The owner of a listed asset cannot sell it or enter into a lease for over 25 years, without notifying the council of their intentions. We will then notify the nominator to give them or another eligible group an opportunity to prepared a bid.
In the meantime, the owner cannot sell or lease the asset for a period of six weeks to allow an eligible group to submit an expression of interest in the asset. If no expression of interest is received the owner can proceed. If an expression of interest is received, the owner has to wait for six months (the moratorium period) to allow an eligible group to prepare a bid for the asset. The owner is under no obligation to sell the listed asset to such a community group and they must offer market value.
There is a protected period for the owner of 18 months from the time the owner notified the local authority of their intention to sell. If an eligible group does not express an interest or prepare an acceptable bid, then the owner can sell if they wish during the remainder of the 18 months without any further restriction.
There are some occasions when a sale or lease will not trigger the moratorium.
How we will use the information about you in relation to ACV is outlined in our Assets of Community Value Privacy Notice.
We cannot provide advice on what to put in your nomination but we can assist with the process and advise you of the legal requirements for submission.
Planning Policy Officer
Uttlesford District Council
The information required by the regulations, and the supporting information and evidence required in order for Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to make an informed decision.
There are a number of essential criterion and information that may be provided as evidence.
1. Essential criterion
Is the nominating organization an eligible body to nominate?
Regulation 5 of the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012:
(a) a body designated as a neighbourhood forum pursuant to section 61F of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990(b);
(b) a parish council;
(c) an unincorporated body— (i) whose members include at least 21 individuals, and (ii) which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members;
(d) a charity;
(e) a company limited by guarantee which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members;
(f) an industrial and provident society which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members; or
(g) a community interest company
Examples of evidence
Evidence might include:
- Articles of Association
- Terms of Reference
- Formal resolution
- Board minutes
Where applicable, it is necessary to submit details of at least 21 persons registered to vote in Uttlesford District - this will be verified prior to a decision being made.
2. Essential criterion
Does the nominating body have a local connection to the asset nominated?
For a full definition of "Local Connection" see Regulation 4 of the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012.
Examples of evidence
Evidence might include relevant and / or historical documents and maps.
3. Essential criterion
Does the nomination include the required information about the asset?
Regulation 6 of the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012:
(a) a description of the nominated land including its proposed boundaries;
(b) a statement of all the information which the nominator has with regard to— (i) the names of current occupants of the land, and (ii) the names and current or last known addresses of all those holding a freehold or leasehold estate in the land;
(c) the nominator's reasons for thinking that the responsible authority should conclude that the land is of community value; and
(d) evidence that the nominator is eligible to make a community nomination (see question 1.1).
Examples of evidence
The nomination will be checked to ensure the required information is supplied.
4. Essential criterion
Does the nominated asset fall within the list of land/buildings which can be Assets of Community Value?
Schedule 1 to Regulation 3 of the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012. Land/buildings which is not of community value and may not be listed includes:
- A residence together with land connected with that residence
- Is the asset, or part thereof, a hotel, or used principally for letting or licensing accommodation to paying occupants?
- Land in respect of which a site license is required under Part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960
- Operational land as defined in section 263 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990(c).
Examples of evidence
Evidence of current and recent usage of the asset will be checked by the assessing officer against known information including planning history.