New rights for communities as Localism Act receives royal assent

Local groups will have the opportunity to bid for community assets

Steve Wyler, chief executive of Locality
Steve Wyler, chief executive of Locality

The Localism Bill has received royal assent and, as the Localism Act, grants new rights to communities to bid for land and run local authority services.

The legislation will require local authorities to maintain lists of ‘assets for community value’. If one of these assets is up for sale, the local authority must allow a moratorium of six months on the sale of the asset, so that local groups have time to put together a bid to take it over for community benefit.

Steve Wyler, chief executive of Locality, the umbrella body for community organisations, said he was particularly pleased that a strong ‘community right to bid’ had been introduced by the act.

"The Localism Act brings opportunities for local groups to take on the planning system, to take over failing services and to take ownership of the land and buildings that matter most to them," he said.

The right to bid is weaker than was originally proposed by community groups, because it does not give community organisations first refusal when community assets come up for sale.

Community organisations have, however, successfully lobbied against attempts to water it down further by reducing the moratorium period from six months to three.

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