Community Groups Get New ‘Right To Bid’ On Properties

Groups and charities could soon get the right to bid for a property if it’s considered of value to the community.

Under the so-called ‘Community Right To Bid’ introduced by the government as part of the new Localism Act, local groups can ask the Council to list certain assets, like buildings or land.

If these come onto the market, the owner would then need to give that group six months to raise the necessary funding to bid for it.

It doesn’t mean though, that the owner has to sell it to them and the rules won’t apply to residential properties.

The new rules are designed to protect local amenities, such as local shops, pubs, libraries and leisure centres, from closing down, by giving community groups the chance to buy and run them.

All local authorities in England will need to implement the new rules and our Council will debate a report on the implications at their Policy and Resources meeting next Tuesday.

The report, produced by Head of Finance, Iain McCulloch, suggests that the process of collecting nominations and managing the list here on the islands should be performed by the Planning Department.

Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, said he’s keen to see what interest will be shown by the islands’ community in this approach.

He said the process is driven by the interests of the community although the Council will make the decision as to which properties are included on the list.

However, the law has been controversial, not least because properties that are nominated could lose value. The new rules state that the Local Authority will have to compensate owners if this happens although it’s likely that money for this would come from the government.

And the right to bid is not limited to freehold properties. It also includes any that are on a 25-year lease or greater that become available.

Duchy of Cornwall Land Steward, Chris Gregory, told us that as far as he knows, the new rules will also apply to the Duchy, who own a large proportion of leasehold properties on the islands.