The Localism Act 2011, which came into effect on 21 September 2012, creates opportunities for local groups to bid for buildings and land defined as community assets when the owner wishes to sell them.
The legislation aims to help communities faced with losing local amenities and buildings which are of importance to them. The Government recognises that over the past decade community asset ownership has been growing. However, it is felt that in many cases communities have lost the use of buildings and land because they were sold privately or without a community group having the time to raise the necessary funds.
Under the Localism Act, community interest groups, organisations and parish councils can nominate an asset to be included on a list of ‘assets of community value.’ This list is managed by the local authority.
If the owner of a listed asset wants to sell the asset, a 6-month moratorium period will be triggered during which the asset cannot be sold. This period gives community groups some time to develop a proposal and raise the required capital to bid for the property when it comes onto the open market at the end of the moratorium period.