CLA President calls for member action on the community assets section of Localism Bill (Click through for the President's open letter to members, and a standard letter to MPs on this issue)
CLA President William Worsley is calling on CLA members to write to their MPs with concerns about the "assets of community value and community right to bid" element of the Localism Bill.
Below are the President's open letter to members, and a standard letter to MPs on this issue.
Dear CLA member
LOCALISM BILL – ASSETS OF COMMUNITY VALUE AND COMMUNITY RIGHT TO BID
I am writing to ask your help in our fight against certain parts of the Government's Localism Bill that threaten the rights of private property owners to sell their property when and potentially to whom they wish.
As currently drafted the Bill requires local authorities to maintain a list of what it calls "assets of community value". Once such an asset is placed on the list, the owner may not dispose of it until community interest groups have had the opportunity to bid for it. This means the owner loses the right to sell his property when he wants and potentially to the person of his choosing.
The asset concerned may be land or a building. It does not matter if it is currently used by the public or not.
This has the potential to have a significant impact on a person's property rights and ability to run his business.
The CLA fundamentally opposes these clauses and has been lobbying for their removal.
We need your help getting the message through to Government and so I am asking you to raise the issue directly with your MP.
A letter which you may wish to use is below.
You can find the name of your MP and his or her contact details through the following link: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/
[Letter by CLA member to MP]
Dear [MP's name].
Localism Bill – Assets of Community Value (ACV) – an assault on private property rights
I am writing to express my considerable concern about the provisions in the Localism Bill concerning Assets of Community Value.
As you will appreciate, if an area of land or a building is deemed to be of value to the community it will be put on a list and may not be sold until a sufficient period of time has passed within which the community can raise the funds to bid for it.
As a result, I as the owner will lose the opportunity to sell the asset at a time of my choosing and potentially to the person of my choosing.
This could have a significant impact on my business planning, inheritance planning and, in any event, is likely to be counterproductive.
Many landowners and owners of private businesses already provide land and buildings for use by the wider community on a voluntary basis. Numerous playing fields, playgrounds and village halls are made available on this basis. However, if the owner runs the risk of losing the ability to eventually dispose of the asset as he would wish, he will be extremely reluctant to offer it for community use in the first place.
I understand many professional advisers and agents are already warning their clients against such acts of benevolence.
To make matters worse, property owners are not even going to be properly compensated for their losses. The Government's consultation makes clear that any compensation will be purely in respect of the administrative costs incurred. It will not be payable in respect of any loss of value, still less in respect of any lost opportunity. This is simply wrong.
Similarly there is a right to have the decision, to nominate an asset as a "community asset", reviewed. But this is simply an internal review, whatever that might mean, and in any event it is unfair to put owners to the trouble and expense of simply preserving their right to dispose of their assets when they want to.
I understand the Government intends the provisions to apply to village pubs and shops and the like. However the Bill does not make this explicit. It does not even define the phrase "community asset".
As currently drafted the clauses in the Bill create an infringement of my private property rights and may impact on my business, and I fundamentally oppose them.
I should be grateful if you, as my constituency MP, would give this matter some thought and take the issues I raise in my letter to the Government as a matter of urgency.
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