23rd April 2014
Who knew? Purchasing Assets of Community Value
For some time now, community groups have been able to purchase ‘Assets of Community Value’ when these come onto the market. The intention behind this is that communities should have an opportunity to acquire such assets for community use rather than see them sold into the private sector.
Since September 2012, the Localism Act 2011 has allowed charities and established community groups the right to bid to purchase an Asset of Community Value when they are proposed to be sold. A building, structure or piece of land must first be listed as an Asset of Community Value: such assets may be nominated to the relevant local authority for consideration. An asset will be listed if it furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community and where it is realistic to think this will continue. Examples include a public house, sports ground, local park, community centre, theatre, monument or playground.
If the listed Asset of Community Value is then to be sold, there will be a moratorium of 6 weeks during which established community groups can express an interest in purchasing the asset. If expressions of interest are made, the moratorium is extended to 6 months to allow the purchase and its finance to be organised. If the Asset has not been sold at that point it may be placed on the open market, although if a realistic deal was underway at the 6 month point the seller would be likely to allow it to go through.
Even 6 months is not very long to organise the finance and other matters connected with an acquisition but at least the opportunity now exists for a first claim on such assets.