Assets of Community Value – protecting your community
Under English law, land or property of importance to a local community can be listed as an official Asset of Community Value (ACV) under the Localism Act 2011 which then affords it additional protection from development.
How does it work?
Communities are able to identify land or buildings that are important within their community and nominate these to the local council, which will decide whether they should be given ACV status. If they are successful, they will then be protected from planning or development. In addition, if an asset on the register comes up for sale, the community may have up to six months in which to raise the money to buy the asset under the Community Right to Bid Scheme before it can be sold on the open market.
Who can make a nomination?
A local voluntary or community body with a local connection or a parish council can make a nomination. Each local authority has the power to make provisions as to the meaning of ‘voluntary or community body’. In Cambridge, this is defined by Cambridge City Council as “a local voluntary or community group that is not incorporated but has at least 21 members who are locally registered to vote in Cambridge city or South Cambridgeshire”. In addition, “a company limited by guarantee or an industrial or provident society which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members” may also make a nomination.
Examples of ACVs include shops, community centres, libraries, playgrounds and pubs. However, the official definition of an ACV is where there is considered to be “an actual current use of the building or other land that is not an ancillary use furthers the social well-being or social interests of the local community, and it is realistic to think that there can continue to be non-ancillary use of the building or other land which will further (whether or not in the same way) the social well-being or social interests of the local community.” The council will consider nominations on a case-by-case basis.
What’s the point?
With the increasing levels of development sites across the country, local people can feel that they have no say in what happens to their area and that they are losing vital parts of their community. ACVs offer a way for people to come together to protect the things that are important to them, whether that be the local village green, library, campsite or even the local pub!
For further information on this or any other property-related matters, please contact Sarah Coates on 01223 465428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.