Communities Minister Don Foster today legally authorised new powers for communities to help prevent the rapid sell off of treasured community assets and buildings so they can be protected.
The Community Right to Bid, created in the historic Localism Act, comes in force tomorrow across the country so communities can ‘stop-the clock’ on the sale of valuable local assets and amenities like post offices, village shops or community pubs, giving them time to put in a takeover bid of their own and protect it for the wider community’s benefit.
Speaking to audience of local activists and parish councillors at the National Association of Local Councils conference, Mr Foster spoke of the Government’s continued desire to push power back into the hands of local people so they can decide what is important in their communities for themselves.
The new right gives voluntary and community organisations and parish councils the opportunity to nominate an asset to be included on a list of ‘assets of community value’, pausing the sale of a successfully listed asset for six-months, giving communities the time to prepare a bid and get a business plan together. Previously the community had no opportunity or time to gather resources to bid to buy or take them over.
Communities Minister Don Foster said:
For too long communities have been shut out, forced to watch from the sidelines as treasured local assets, vital in peoples daily lives, have been shut-down and sold on. We are determined to put an end to that and put people back at the centre of the future of their communities.
The Community Right to bid lets communities decide what’s important to them and ‘stop the clock’ on sales so they have them the time to get together a bid, put together a plan and ensure that prized local assets can live on, this time run by the local community for the local community.
Communities are already showing their determination and appetite to get involved in saving and running local facilities and amenities and over 500 people are looking into using the Right to Bid in their community.
- In Norden, local people formed a Trust to buy and refurbish the historic old library building and reopen it as a community facility. The group purchased the lease form the Local authority and since then the building has been transformed into a modern community hub and a doctors surgery.
- In Cranleigh, the community is already planning to use the Community Right to Bid to return the first village hospital in the community back into the hands of the local people to provide support to the elderly in the community and ensure that the long history of the building as a community facility can continue.
The Community Right to Bid, is just one of the Community Rights measures brought in by the Localism Act. In June, the Government announced a £30million package of specialist support to help communities take advantage of their new rights.
Notes to editors
The Community Right to Bid was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 which was enacted on 15 November 2011. The Right to Bid comes into force on 19 September. A plain English guide to the Localism Act is available at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/localismplainenglishupdate.
A Community Rights website has been launched to give people more information about the new powers and opportunities available to them. The website will continue to grow and expand as more of the Rights come into force. The site can be viewed here: www.communityrights.communities.gov.uk (external link).
Practical help and guidance for those wishing to use the Community Right to Challenge is also available on the My Community Rights website. The site can be viewed here: mycommunityrights.org.uk/community-right-to-challenge/ (external link).