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Community Right to Bid

The Community Right to Bid (Assets of Community Value) gives community organisations the chance to bid, and if successful purchase and take over the running of assets that are of value to the local community.

Nominated assets will been included on one of the two lists below:

Voluntary and community organisations can nominate both privately and publicly owned assets to be included on a list of assets of community value. This list is managed by the Council. When a landowner wants to sell such a property, they must tell the council.

If a community group wants to buy the asset, they can trigger a 6 month moratorium period from the date the property is placed on the market to give them a chance to prepare a bid for it. Community groups will need to confirm to the Council their wish to make a bid within 6 weeks of the property owner putting the property on the market. During this period, the owner cannot sell their property on the open market. This gives community groups an increased chance to save much loved shops, pubs or other local facilities by developing a proposal and raising the required capital.

At the end of the 6-month period, the owner is free to sell the asset to whoever they wish and at any price.

Nominations

The Council can only consider nominations from certain organisations. These are:

  • Parish and Town Councils
  • Unincorporated bodies – with at least 21 individual members who appear on the Borough Council’s electoral roll
  • Neighbourhood forums – as described in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
  • The following categories of Community Interest Groups, with a local connection to a:
    • charity
    • community interest company
    • company limited by guarantee that is non-profit distributing (In this context non-profit distributing means that any surplus is not distributed to its members but is wholly or partly applied to the Bedford Borough Council area or to a neighbouring local authority area.)
    • industrial and provident society that is non-profit distributing

The groups listed will need to demonstrate a local connection such as their activities are wholly, or partly, concerned with the Borough Council’s area or with a neighbouring local authority area.

Full details of the eligibility criteria can be found in our guidance notes for voluntary and community groups interested in nominating assets of community value (PDF) and in the Act and the Regulations.

If more than one community interest group is interested in purchasing the property, we would encourage the groups to work together.

How to nominate an asset of community value

A nomination has to include certain information. To ensure that you comply with the requirements, please use the Assets of Community Value nomination form (Excel) 

The nomination must include:

  • the address of the property
  • details of the owner and current occupants
  • the extent of the site and its proposed boundaries
  • why you feel it is an asset of community value.
  • an explanation of how the community organisation will viably acquire and manage the asset, including bringing the asset back into the desired community use if it has recently closed or ceased to function in that way
  • evidence of your eligibility to nominate, as outlined above 

Send completed nomination forms to: ownership@bedford.gov.uk or by post:

Community Right to Bid
Property Services
Borough Hall
Cauldwell Street
Bedford MK42 9AP

Email: property@bedford.gov.uk Tel: 01234 276895

What counts as an asset of community value

A building or piece of land is deemed to have community value if:

  • the use of the building or land currently, or in the recent past, furthers the social wellbeing or cultural, recreational or sporting interests of the local community
  • this use (as described above) of the building or land will continue to further the social wellbeing or interests of the local community
  • the use of the building or land must not be deemed ‘ancillary’, ie of secondary purpose. This means that the use of the land or building to further social well-being or interests of the community must be its principal use.

Next steps after nomination

Once we have received the completed nomination form, we will check the technical issues such as the eligibility of the nomination and the organisation making the nomination, completeness of the information supplied, and that the asset is not in an excluded category. The council has to decide whether or not to list the asset, within eight weeks following the nomination submission.

Decisions as to whether the nominated assets are of community value will be made by a specially convened officer group.

Assets that are considered to be of community value will then be added to the ‘List of Assets of Community Value’. Assets will remain on the list for five years and a land charge will be registered against the property. When the five years have expired, an eligible community organisation can submit a new nomination.

The Council will take all practicable steps to notify the owner and lawful occupants that it is considering listing the property. We will also notify these people of the outcome of the nomination.
The organisation which originally nominated the asset will be notified of the outcome, together with reasons if the application is unsuccessful. They will also be notified if the asset is subsequently removed from the list, following a review of the decision.

If the nominated asset is not considered to be an asset of community value, or if the nomination was ineligible, we will provide an explanation as to why it was unsuccessful to the organisation which made the nomination. In such circumstances, the property will be added to the list of ‘List of unsuccessful applications, assets of community value’ and will remain on the list for five years.

If we decide to list a property, the property owner can ask for a review and this will be determined by an Officer of appropriate seniority who did not take part in the decision to list.  There are rights of appeal in the event that the original decision is not changed as a result of the review . Nominators are not able to ask for a review  or appeal regarding the decision made in respect of their nomination.

Communities right to bid related links