The Community Right to Bid, introduced by the Localism Act 2011, allows local community or voluntary bodies and parish councils to identify and nominate land and buildings that are important to them to be included on a list of assets of community value (ACVs). If an ACV is to be sold, local community groups will then in many cases have a fairer chance to make a bid to buy it on the open market. Assets could include a village shop, local pub, community centre or library but there are many other examples. 

The inclusion of an asset on the list of assets of community value however does not place any restriction on what an owner can do with their property, once listed, so long as it remains in their ownership. This is because it is planning policy that determines permitted uses for particular sites. However the fact that the site is listed may affect planning decisions - it is open to the council to decide whether listing as an asset of community value is a material consideration if an application for change of use is submitted, considering all the circumstances of the case.

Legal tests applied to a nomination of an Asset of Community Value:

Assets can be included on Dorset Council’s list of assets of community value if they meet the legal requirements set out in the Localism Act 2011 and The Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012, summarised as follows:

The asset must meet the definition of an asset of community value:

A building or land is of community value if, in the opinion of the local authority, the current or recent non-ancillary use furthers the social well-being or social interests of the community, and it is realistic to think that there can be continued use which will do so in some, but not necessarily the same, way. Social well-being and social interests can include cultural, recreational and sporting interests but this is not an exhaustive list.

The asset must be, at least partly, in the local authority's area. Some assets may overlap boundaries with a neighbouring local authority.

The asset must be nominated by a parish council, or a voluntary or community body with a local connection:

Voluntary or community bodies with a local connection must supply evidence of their status (for example, a copy of your constitution or terms of reference or, if an unincorporated body, details of 21 people with a local connection and on the electoral register together with evidence of a collective decision to nominate the asset). Eligible bodies can also be a charity, a community interest company, a company limited by guarantee that is non-profit distributing, or an industrial and provident society that is non-profit distributing.

The asset must not be an excluded asset type. Excluded asset types, in summary, are:

  1. A residential property, including gardens, outbuildings and other associated land that is reasonable to consider as part of the land with the residence. (This exclusion does not cover assets that contain integral residential quarters such as a pub or caretaker's flat)
  2. Land licensed for use as a residential caravan site (and residential caravan sites that do not need a licence)
  3. Operational land of statutory undertakers as defined in section 263 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, for example, Highways Agency land

How to nominate an asset

Information and advice for community groups considering making an ACV nomination is available from Locality on the myCommunity website. 

nomination form must be completed for each asset to be nominated. If you have any queries about completing the form please email us.

Existing protection

The protection offered by the community right to bid scheme is limited and when considering whether to nominate an asset it is worth checking whether any other protection already applies to an asset, e.g. it might be a Scheduled Ancient Monument, or a playing field that may be held in trust. 

The decision

On receipt of a nomination, Dorset Council will make the owner/leaseholder aware that their property has been nominated for inclusion on the ACV list. We will take account of the information in your nomination, the owner’s/leaseholder's comments and any other relevant information in making a decision.

We will make the decision on whether the nomination should be placed on the ACV list within eight weeks of receiving the nomination. The landowner has the right of review and appeal if they object to their property being listed.

Successful nominations are added to the Dorset Council List of Assets of Community Value. 

If a nomination is unsuccessful we will add the asset to the Dorset Council List of Unsuccessful Nominations along with the reason for not listing. This will hopefully avoid unnecessary repeat nominations and potential time wasted for everyone involved on other similar nominations.

Removal of asset from the ACV list

An asset can only remain on the ACV list for 5 years after which time the council has to remove it as soon as practicable. Assets, however, can be re-listed if a new nomination is received and if the legal tests are satisfied.

An asset will also be removed from the list under the following circumstances:

  • after a sale (other than after an exempt disposal)
  • when an appeal against a listing has been successful
  • when the council considers that the land or building is no longer of community value

Assets that have been removed are identified on the ACV list.

Lists of ACVs and unsuccessful ACV nominations

Dorset Council’s lists of ACVs and unsuccessful ACV nominations may be viewed here: 

How the Community Right to Bid works

If an asset of community value comes up for sale, long term rent or assignment the owner is legally obliged to inform the council in writing. This then activates a six week pause in the sale process known as an initial moratorium during which the landowner cannot legally dispose of the asset. The council then advertises the opportunity for eligible community and voluntary bodies to give written notice of their intention to bid for the asset by informing the council in writing.

If this happens it then triggers a full moratorium of up to six months to enable the community body to raise money and bid to buy the asset. This does not however, mean that the community body gets a right of first refusal or that it will have the opportunity to buy the asset at below market value.

If there is no sale to a community body during this six month full moratorium period then the owner is free to sell the asset with no restriction for an eighteen month “protected period”. This period runs from the date at which the owner notified the council of the intention to sell the asset of community value.

If there is no sale to a community body during this six month full moratorium period then the owner is free to sell the asset with no restriction for an eighteen month “protected period”. This period runs from the date at which the owner notified the council of the intention to sell the asset of community value.

Information and advice on making a bid on an ACV is available from Locality on the myCommunity website. 

Notification of intention to dispose of an ACV

The Piddle Inn, Piddletrenthide, DT2 7QF

The council has received written notification of the owner’s intention to dispose of the Piddle Inn either by freehold sale OR grant of a lease of 25 years or more on the above property which is included on the council’s list of assets of community value.

When an ACV comes up for sale, long-term rent or a grant of long-term assignment and the council is informed in writing of this fact, there is an initial pause (moratorium) of six weeks for an eligible community body to decide whether or not to exercise a right to bid for the asset.

If an eligible community body wishes to bid for the asset it should notify the council of its intention to bid by email to ACV@dorset.gov.uk

The six week period in which to do so runs until the end of 30 August 2021.

Community Right to Bid: non-statutory advice note for local authorities

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