Assets of Community Value Nomination Representations and Listing Reviews
The Localism Act 2011 introduced the ability for voluntary and community organisations to nominate an asset to be included on their local authority's register of asset of community value.
The legislation was aimed at giving "many more communities the opportunity to take control of assets and facilities in their neighbourhoods by levelling the playing field [and] by providing the time for them to prepare a proposal" to acquire the particular local asset or facility.
Local Authority's decision making process
Once an asset or facility is nominated, the owner will be given the opportunity to make comments on the nomination to the local authority.
The local authority will decide whether it can be listed if a principal (“non-ancillary”) use of the asset furthers (or has recently furthered) their community’s social well-being or social interests (which include cultural, sporting or recreational interests) and is likely to do so in the future.
The local authority is required to make a decision in response to a nomination within 8 weeks of receiving the nomination.
What happens once listed?
Once an asset has been listed nothing further will happen unless and until the owner decides to dispose of it, either through a freehold sale, or the grant or assignment of a qualifying lease (i.e. originally granted for at least twenty-five years).
The first part of this window is a 6 week interim period, which will apply in all cases, from the point the owner notifies the local authority. This will allow community interest groups to make a written request to be treated as a potential bidder. If none do so in this period, the owner is free to sell their asset at the end of the 6 weeks.
If a community interest group does make a request during this interim period, then the full 6 month moratorium (from the point the owner notifies the local authority) will operate. During this period the owner may continue to market and negotiate sales, but may not exchange contracts (or enter into a binding contract to do so later) unless it is with the community interest group themselves.
After the moratorium period – either the 6 weeks if there has been no community interest, or the full 6 months – the owner is free to sell to whomever they choose and at whatever price.
If an asset has been included on the List, an owner has 8 weeks from the date that written notice of listing was given to request the local authority to review its decision. If the owner is not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review they have the right to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal against the local authority’s review decision.
Private owners may claim compensation for loss and expense incurred through the asset being listed or previously listed. The regulations specifically provide that this will include a claim arising from a period of delay in entering into a binding agreement to sell which is wholly caused by the interim or full moratorium period; or for legal expenses incurred in a successful appeal to the Tribunal. The time limit for making a compensation claim is whichever is earlier of 13 weeks from the end of the interim or full moratorium period (as appropriate) or from the date when the land ceases to be listed.
No right to appeal to local authority's refusal to list
There is no right for the nominator to request a review or appeal a Council's refusal to list as an asset of community value. If a nominator wishes to challenge such a decision the only option is to pursue judicial review proceedings.
Our experienced Planning Team advises on all aspects of planning law, including representations and appeals of Assets of Community Value nominations and listing reviews.