Since the Localism Act 2011, there has been a growing interest by both local Councils and the third sector in transferring property assets into community ownership. Councils and central government have recognised that community assets can provide better outcomes, offer better value as well as create greater freedoms for partner organisations to tailor services and draw down external investment.
Bath & North East Somerset Council approved its Community Asset Transfer Policy on the 6th February 2019. The policy builds upon the work already undertaken and provides a four staged process for organisations wishing to apply. The aims of which is to ensure that the wider community interests are safeguarded and that the overall objectives agreed for each asset transfer will continue to be delivered in the longer term. The Council will review this policy in line with its Corporate Strategy 2016-2020.
Where the applicant can demonstrate that there are social, economic or environmental benefits the transfer of management and/or ownership of the asset to a community organisation will involve a transfer at less than market value. This will normally be in a form of a lease; a licence for very short-term arrangements where flexibility is needed, and freehold in exceptional circumstances. The Council will not restrict its CAT to ‘low value’ or difficult to dispose of assets as this will narrow the scope of the policy. Under s123 of the Local Government Act 1972, any disposal by the Council of an asset in excess of 7 years (including leasehold interests) must obtain “best consideration”, unless the General Disposal Consent (England) 2003 can be applied or a specific consent is obtained.
All decisions will be made at the Council’s discretion irrespective of the strength of the business case presented. The Council may decide at any time not proceed with a Community Asset Transfer.
Please view the following documents for more information and guidance:-
- Community Asset Transfer Policy - Updated March 2020 to incorporate Council's new Corporate Strategy priorities
- Appendix 1 - Sample Heads of Terms and Partnership Agreement
- Appendix 2 - Application process and assessment criteria
- Appendix 3 - A guide to writing a Business Plan
In the first instance please contact :
Sarah Varley, Head of Corporate Estate, Property Service.