The Localism Act 2011 introduced a new right for groups of at least 21 local people to nominate buildings or pieces of land that they deem to contribute to the social interests or wellbeing of their communities for inclusion on a list of Assets of Community Value, managed by the local authority.
If an asset is listed, a charge is placed on the asset or land and, if the owner wishes to sell it, then a six month delay ensues which gives the local community the opportunity to raise funds to purchase it. The council has received eight nominations under Community Right to Bid since it was introduced in early 2012, and six assets have been listed on the ‘Register of Assets of Community Value’ in Barnet.
To date, nominations have been assessed according to criteria set by Government through the Localism Act, which are broad and do not take account of local priorities and circumstances. As a consequence, the council has felt that the way in which nominations have been assessed has not been as consistent with the priorities of Barnet residents as it could have been.
Therefore, the council has developed a draft policy setting out additional criteria for how we will define social interests and wellbeing when assessing Community Right to Bid nominations. We are actively seeking input from local people and community groups to ensure that the policy reflects the views and aspirations for the borough of the widest possible range of Barnet residents.
Why We Are Consulting
Greater clarity is needed to inform decisions about Community Right to Bid nominations and ensure that decisions reflect the priorities of local residents.
The current statutory guidance fails to take account of the special character of local areas, and potentially allows for the interests of a small nominating group to take precedence over the democratically agreed priorities for an area. Barnet is a growing borough with a unique physical and social makeup: it would be a disservice to residents if these characteristics were not reflected in the council’s Community Right to Bid process.
The policy that we are currently consulting on is linked to existing council strategies, which were developed in close consultation with local residents, businesses and community groups in order to further their social interests and wellbeing now and in the future. Therefore, the policy is designed to bring clarity to the Community Right to Bid process, while allowing for the interests and wellbeing of all residents in the borough to be taken into account for every decision.
We are keen to give everyone within the local community the opportunity to have their say on the policy before it is finalised. Your views and opinions are important to us and will help us to make the right decisions.
What Happens Next
The consultation has now closed.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in the survey, without whose valuable input the consultation would not have been possible.
You can see how we have acted on the results so far under 'We asked, You said, We did'.