Community right to bid

What is the Community Right to Bid?

The new Community Right to Bid is one of a number of "Rights" introduced in the Localism Act 2011. It aims to support communities who have identified buildings or land that they value and want to keep, by giving them the chance to purchase them should they ever be sold.

The council is required to hold a register of "assets of community value" If land or buildings that are on the list are offered for sale, then the right is triggered. This gives 6 months for the community to prepare a bid and compete to own it.

What can the Right to Bid be used for?

Your community can use the Right to Bid to identify those buildings you would want to seek to buy if the current owners (private or public owners) choose to sell them, such as:

  • Village shops
  • Public houses
  • Schools and other public buildings
  • Open space used by the public

What is an Asset of Community Value?

A building (or other land) could be considered an Asset of Community Value if its main use furthers social wellbeing or social interests of the community and could do so in the future. The Localism Act says "social interests" include cultural, recreational and sporting interests. However, there are a number of situations where an asset is exempt from being listed on the register - such as homes, hotels, assets being transferred between kindred businesses and Church of England land.

Who can nominate Assets to be on the Register?

Community Organisations can nominate Assets for inclusion on the register, including:

  • Parish Councils
  • Unincorporated community groups of at least 21 members, and
  • Not-for-private-profit organisations (e.g. charities)

Groups also need to have a local connection to the Asset, which means they are either wholly or partially concerned with the Parish in which it is located, or a neighbouring Parish.

What information is required to nominate an Asset?

  1. A description of the Asset including its proposed boundaries
  2. Information the nominator has regarding freeholders, leaseholders and current occupants of the site.
  3. The reasons for nominating the Asset for inclusion on the Register, including how it meets the definition
  4. Evidence that the nominator is eligible to make a nomination

Submitting and application

If you would like to nominate an Asset for inclusion on Chichester District Council's Register of "Assets of Community Value", then please complete our Nomination Form. Once completed, please submit the form to the Community Engagement Team, or post to:

Community Engagement Team
Chichester District Council
East Pallant House, 1 East Pallant
Chichester
West Sussex
PO19 1TY

If the Asset for nomination is outside of Chichester District, application will need to be made to the appropriate local authority.

How is a nomination assessed?

The council will acknowledge all nominations, and must decide whether the nominated land or property should be included on its register within eight weeks of receiving a complete nomination.

What happens once an Asset is Registered?

The Community Right to Bid does not give a right of first refusal, but does provide community organisations with time to put together the funding necessary to bid to buy the asset on the open market, when the current owner seeks to sell.

If an owner of Registered (as an Asset of Community Value) land or property wants to sell, they must tell the local authority. If the nominating body is keen to develop a bid, they can call for the local authority to trigger a moratorium, during which the owner cannot sell the Asset.

There are two moratorium periods: the first is an interim period of six weeks during which community organisations can decide if they want to be a potential bidder. If none do the owner is free to sell and the Registration is removed. The full moratorium lasts for six months, during which a community organisation (having declared they wish to bid) can develop their proposal and raise the money required to buy the asset.

Regulations list some situations where the moratorium will not be applied, even when an Asset is on the Register; for example the sale of assets from one partner to another (in divorce proceedings).

Other sources of information

"Locality" is the leading UK network of enterprising community organisations and development trusts.

The range of Community Rights, including the Right to Bid, are supported by the My community rights  website.

The seven step "how it works" guide to the Right to Bid contains some helpful resources.