Community Rights and Heritage Resource Launch
Since 2012 over 5,000 communities across the country have used Community Rights to have more of a say about the future of their neighbourhood.
Community Rights are a set of powers introduced by the Localism Act 2011. The Assets of Community Value scheme, more commonly known as the Community Right to Bid, gives communities the opportunity to celebrate and secure the future of community assets, including treasured historic building, parks, museums and open spaces.
Nominating an asset
The Community Right to Bid is a very straightforward idea and really simple to do. Just 21 local residents who are on the electoral roll can come together to nominate an asset to their local authority. Nominations can also be put forward by local community organisations, amenity societies or parish councils.
The local authority assesses whether the nomination furthers the social well-being of the community and could continue to do so in the future. If the nomination meets that definition then the asset should be listed.
If the owner wishes to sell any building or land listed as an Asset of Community Value, the community can pause the sale for up to 6 months to raise funds to prepare a bid to buy it, safeguarding it for the community.
Often what mobilises these vibrant communities is that they understand what is important about their local heritage and quite rightly come to the conclusion that they are its best custodians.
The ambition of local people should never be doubted and it is inspiring how much community groups achieve, though the challenges these groups face should not be underestimated.
That is why it is great news that leading heritage organisations are coming together with the Department of Communities and Local Government to help raise awareness of the Community Right to Bid amongst people who are passionate about their local heritage.
Expert help and support
In addition to Civic Voice organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, Architectural Heritage Fund and Groundwork recognise the value of Community Rights. By encouraging communities to get cherished historic buildings, parks, museums and open spaces listed as Assets of Community Value, these organisations are playing a vital role in ensuring that these heritage assets cannot be sold without the knowledge of the local people who treasure them.
What is exciting about the involvement of the heritage sector is that it means a whole new audience getting more involved with their area through the use of Community Rights.
Over 3,000 Assets of Community Value have been listed so far in England. Of these, many are historic buildings and land, from Dulwich Park in London which was has been a park since 1890, to the Red House, a Grade II* listed cloth merchants museum in Kirklees. Across the country communities have made the case to have their art galleries and libraries, castles and churches listed as Assets of Community Value.
All of the Community Rights introduced are locally led. Only people who have a local connection to the area can exercise these rights and that by promoting this new publication to civic volunteer and other community groups, more local people will be able use their Community Rights to improve the places in which they live and work.