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Community Right to Bid

  • Council and democracy

The Community Right to Bid (sometimes called Assets of Community Value) was introduced under the Localism Act 2011 and allows eligible bodies to nominate a building or piece of land which they believe provides a service in the community to be listed as an ‘asset of community value’.

Register of Assets of Community Value

The Register of Assets of Community Value is retained by the local authority, and is in place to give communities a chance to take control of the assets that they value should they come up for sale. The Register also includes unsucessful nominations.

If an asset on the Register is put up for sale, an eligible community organisation can trigger a six month moratorium period if they want to purchase the asset. During this six month period the asset cannot be sold on the open market, only to qualifying community interest groups. This allows qualifying community interest groups six month to raise capital and bid for the asset at market value.

Who can nominate

Assets can be nominated by an eligible voluntary or community body with a local connection. The term ‘voluntary or community body’ covers the following:

  • A properly designated Neighbourhood Forum (as defined in section 61F of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
  • A Parish Council
  • An unincorporated body of at least 21 local residents (each individual must be registered on the electoral roll for Barnet or a neighbouring authority) and which does not distribute profit to members
  • A charity
  • A company by limited guarantee that does not distribute surplus to members
  • A cooperative or community benefit society (previously known as industrial and provident societies) that does not distribute surplus to its members
  • A community interest company (that satisfies the requirements of Part 2 of the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004)

Please note: you must submit evidence with your nomination to prove that your voluntary or community body is eligible. See our checklist for examples of the sort of evidence we require.

Eligible voluntary or community bodies must have a ‘local connection’ to the asset. The definition of ‘local connection’ varies depending on what sort of voluntary or community body you are, however, generally you must demonstrate (with supporting evidence) that your activities are wholly or partly concerned with the London Borough of Barnet or a neighbouring local authority.

If your organisation is an unincorporated body, a company limited by guarantee, or a cooperative or community benefit society, you must be able to prove that any surplus the organisation makes is applied wholly or partly for the benefit of Barnet or a neighbouring authority’s area. More detailed information on local connections and evidence requirements is set out in our checklist

Asset of Community Value

An asset can be a building or a piece of land. It can either belong to the local authority or to a private owner. A building or piece of land is deemed to have community value if:

  • the use of the land or building currently, or in the recent past, furthers the social well-being or social interests of the local community - “social interests” includes cultural, recreational or sporting interests
  • it is realistic to think that the use of the building or land will continue to further the social well-being or social interests of the local community
  • the use of the building or land must not be ‘ancillary’, i.e. of secondary purpose. This means that the use of the land or building to further social well-being or social interests of the community must be its principal use.

There are several exemptions set out in the Regulations 2012 that cannot be listed. These include but are not limited to residential properties, hotels, and land which requires a site licence under Part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.

Once a nomination is received

The council has to decide whether or not to list the asset, within eight weeks of receiving a valid completed nomination form.

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, whether the asset is within our area (as we can only consider sites within the borough), and whether the asset is in an excluded category. Incomplete applications or applications which do not pass the technical checks stated above will automatically be rejected. We will write to the nominating body to explain why the nomination cannot be considered. An organisation can resubmit a revised application for the same asset.

Complete applications from eligible groups will be acknowledged and we will reach a decision within eight weeks of receipt of the application. We will always write to you to acknowledge receipt, to let you know whether we can take your nomination forward, and to inform you of the final decision.

We will assess the nomination using our checklist and by consulting experts from our Legal, Finance, Planning, Estates, and Growth and Development teams. The council are legally obliged to notify the freeholder, leaseholder and any lawful occupants of the property or land in question and any parish council for the area where the property or land is located, and we may take into consideration any information that they submit with respect to the nomination (provided it is submitted in a timely manner). A report and recommendation will be prepared for Elected Members to inform their decision making.

Elected Members will make a decision on whether or not the asset should be listed at a public meeting of the Community Leadership Committee or Community Leadership Sub-Committee.

We will write to the nominating group to let them know when this meeting is being held. The report, including the recommendation, will be published five full working days before the Committee. We will inform nominating group when the report will be published, and advise on public participation during Committee meetings.

If the nomination is successful, the asset will be placed on our Register of Assets of Community Value. Assets will remain on the register for a maximum period of five years, a restriction will be entered at the Land Registry, and the asset placed on our Register of Local Land Charges.

We will also inform the nominating group, any parish council, freeholder, leaseholder, and lawful occupier of the asset of the decision. The owner (which includes a tenant of a lease for at least 25 years) has the right to request a review of this decision within eight weeks of the listing, first through the council’s internal process, and then through an appeal to a First Tier Tribunal.

If, during the five years information comes to light that allows the council to form the opinion that the asset is no longer of community value, or the asset is sold or let for a lease of at least 25 years, or such a lease is assigned following adherence to the moratorium process mentioned below, the asset will be removed from the Register. We will inform the nominating body, owner, lawful occupier and any parish council in writing if this is the case and explain why this has happened.

If it is decided that the nomination is unsuccessful, or if a review results in a decision that the asset should not have been listed, we will inform the nominating organisation of the outcome, and provide an explanation as to why it was unsuccessful. Unsuccessful nominations will be kept on our Register of Assets of Community Value for five years. Unsuccessful nominations are eligible for re-nomination – although please note that you will need to demonstrate substantial new evidence for a re-nomination to be considered.

If an asset you own is nominated

When a property is nominated we will write to the owner, any tenant, lawful occupier and parish council to let them know that their asset is under consideration and inform them of the date of the public Committee where the decision will be made. We will also provide the owner with a link to the web page where you will be able to find the report and recommendation which will be published five full working days ahead of the Committee.

Any representations which the owner and others notified would like to make to the council for consideration should be provided at least two weeks ahead of the Committee date for inclusion in the recommendation report; like the next paragraph, this is a procedure of the council rather than the 2011 Act or the Regulations 2012.

If this timescale is not met then the owner and others notified will be able to submit a public comment or question at the Committee up to two full working days before the meeting. Advice on public participation at Committee meetings will be provided.

We will write to the owner, tenant, lawful occupier and parish council and the nominating group within eight weeks from the date of the nomination with formal notification of the outcome. If the nomination is unsuccessful, nothing will change except the asset will be listed for five years on our Register of Assets of Community Value as an unsuccessful nomination.

If the nomination is successful, the asset will be listed on the Register of Assets of Community Value for a maximum period of five years, subject to the right to request a review as mentioned above.  Further guidance will be provided in the letter to the property owner.

Once listed, the asset owner is legally obliged to inform the council should they decide to sell the asset (references to “sell” for this purpose include granting or assigning a lease for at least 25 years, as well as selling the freehold and this is what is meant by references to sale or sell in this note). This signals the beginning of the six week moratorium, where qualifying community organisations can register an interest in bidding for the property at market value. The asset cannot be sold during this time. We will notify the nominating body and owner or tenant of over 25 years of any expression of interest, and will also include this information on our Register of Assets of Community Value.

If a qualifying community interest group expresses interest then the full six month moratorium (beginning on the date the notification of intent to sell was received) is triggered.

If no interest is registered, all restrictions are lifted and sale can continue.

The asset cannot be sold during the six month moratorium period other than to a community interest group.  However, the owner is under no obligation to sell to a community interest group and can sell the property on the open market at the end of the moratorium period.  If not sold within the six month period to a community interest group the asset can be sold within 18 months from the same start date as the moratorium; this is to protect the asset owner against repeated attempts to block a sale.

Asset owners are entitled to compensation for losses incurred as a direct result of delay of sale due to the moratorium period, or for reasonable legal expenses as a result of a successful appeal to First Tier Tribunal. Further information on compensation entitlement can be found in the Regulations 2012.

Nominations

Voluntary and community bodies have to meet certain criteria and provide supporting evidence to be eligible to nominate an asset. Please use our online form to make a nomination, which has been designed to prompt for this information.

Make a nomination

If you prefer to use your own form, please ensure that completed forms are sent to community.rights@barnet.gov.uk.

Please use our checklist to ensure that you are eligible to nominate and have provided all relevant supporting evidence with your nomination, and for advice on the statutory criteria that your nomination will be assessed against.

Open Moratoria

Eligible community interest groups can express interest in bidding for an asset during its interim moratorium period. Please read our procedure for expressions of interest in advance if you wish to do this.

The following moratoria and protected periods are currently in place:

80 Daws Lane, Mill Hill, NW7 4SL - Barnet Council announced its intention to sell on 12 December 2016. The interim moratorium ended on 13 February 2017. The full moratorium has been triggered and will end on 12 June 2017. The protected period expires on 12 July 2018.

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.

Please also look at Chapter 3 of The Localism Act 2011 and The Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012  for further information on the Right to Bid and the rules related to it before you make a nomination. Please note that further regulations may be made by central government, which may alter the legal requirements and timescales.

Contacts

  • Strategy Unit
  • Commissioning Group, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, N11 1NP
  •  
  • Email: community.rights@barnet.gov.uk

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