Please note: The information on the web page is only an overview to give a general understanding of the purpose and process of assets of community value and the community right to bid.
Assets of community value
Land or buildings that the community uses or has used in the past and could use again, are likely to be classed as 'assets of community value'. These properties could include:
- Community halls
- Sports facilities
- Town halls
- Village greens
The building or land does not have to be in community ownership; it could be in private or local authority ownership.
If a building or land that is registered as an asset of community value comes up for sale, local community groups can ask for the sale to be suspended for six months so they can make a bid and raise the funds to buy the asset. You can find out more information about this on the My community rights website and in the Understanding the Community Right to Bid leaflet
Who can nominate an asset and how to make a nomination
Only community groups can put forward nominations. Individuals or businesses are not able to do so.
For a local group to be able to nominate land, it will have to demonstrate that its activities wholly or partly take place in the local authority area that the land sits in, or in the neighbouring authority's area. A neighbouring authority is one that shares a boundary with the authority that the asset is in.
Groups that can make nominations include:
- Community interest groups
- Neighbourhood forums
- Parish and town councils
- Unincorporated groups
How to make a nomination
Before making a nomination, please try to find out as much as you can about the ownership and use of the proposed community asset.
We will have to contact the current owner and/or occupier, so if you can provide names and addresses this would really help. If you are uncertain of the ownership details, you will find the Land Registry website very useful. If the property is not registered, please provide the most accurate information that you can. Please liaise with the other groups (where applicable) and work together to share the workload but also to avoid multiple nominations for the same property. A property requires only one nomination; several nominations will not add weight to the case for listing.
You can make a nomination by:
- Completing our online Community asset nomination form
- Filling in a Community asset value nomination form and sending it to Head of Legal, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Surrey Heath House, Knoll Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 3HD
Once we receive the nomination
Once we receive the completed form, we have eight weeks to decide to list the asset or not. In making this decision, we will seek information from the owner and ward councillors (to verify if the proposed asset meets the necessary statutory criteria). If the nominated asset is properly nominated, is in Surrey Heath, meets the definition, and is not excluded, we must list it and inform all relevant parties. We must also place the asset on the local land charges register and, if the land is registered, apply for a restriction on the land register. If we do not agree that the nominated asset meets the definition, or it is in one of the excluded categories, we must place it on a list of assets nominated but not listed.
The owner's right to object
When a property is nominated as an asset of community value, we will inform the owners and give them the chance to comment on the validity of the nomination. If we then register their property as an asset, they have the right to ask us to review the decision to list. They must ask for a listing review in writing within eight weeks of the notice of listing. The property will remain on the list while we carry out the review. The review will be carried out by the Chief Executive, who was not involved in the original decision to list. The owners can make representation to the reviewer and we must complete the review within eight weeks (unless otherwise agreed). The owners and the council will bear their own costs of the review.
Please note: only the owners have the right to ask for a review of a decision to register an asset. There are no rights for others to ask for us to review the decision to list or not to list.
The owner's right to appeal
If the owners are not satisfied with the outcome of our review, they then have the opportunity to appeal. They must appeal the to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal within 28 days from the date that we sent the notice of the outcome of the review to the owner. Their address is:
Community Right to Bid Appeals
HM Courts and Tribunals
First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber)
PO Box 9300
Leicester, LE1 8DJ
The property remains listed during the appeal process.
The community right to bid
The purpose of the register of assets of community value is to make sure that if a registered asset comes up for sale, the sale can be suspended for up to six months. This is known as a moratorium period. This is to give local community groups the chance to make a bid to buy the asset on the open market and to raise the funds to do so. However, the owner still has the right to sell to whomever they want at whatever price at the end of this period. There is no first right of refusal for community groups.
The community right to bid only applies to community facilities that are on the register of assets of community value.
If an owner wants to sell an asset of community value
If you want to sell an asset of community value, you must first notify the council by emailing us using the contact details on this page or by writing to:
Head of Legal,
Surrey Heath Borough Council,
Surrey Heath House,
Surrey GU15 3HD
When you notify us of your intention to sell, this will start an initial six-week moratorium period when the sale is suspended. At this stage, we will tell the local community groups that are aware of and local ward councillors about the pending sale. The six-week period allows community interest groups to make a written request to be treated as a potential bidder. If no groups want to bid for the property, you can sell it at the end of the six weeks. Only groups that fit the statutory definition can use the right to bid.
If you are an owner of a listed asset, we would advise you to take legal advice before selling an asset to make sure that you comply with the legislation.
If a community group asks to be treated as a potential bidder
If, during the first six weeks, a community group asks to be treated as a potential bidder, the full six-month moratorium period begins. The start date for this period will be when the owners told us of their intention to sell. During this time, the owners can market the property or negotiate a sale but may not exchange contracts (or enter into a binding contract to do so later). The only exception is that the owners may sell to a community group during the six-month period. The owners are free to sell to whomever they want at whatever price at the end of the six weeks if there has been no community interest, or after the six-month period if there has been community interest. Once the six-week or six-month periods are over, there can be no further moratorium periods for 18 months, starting from the point that the owners told us of their intention to sell.
We do not have to be notified of all proposed sales or transactions, for example gifts or disposals in accordance with a will. These are set out in the Community right to bid legislation
What you must do as an owner of a registered asset of community value
If you are the owner of a registered asset of community value you must:
- Make every reasonable effort to establish if your property is a registered asset before you sell (you are advised to have this confirmed in writing)
- Tell us of your intention to sell the property
- Not sell the asset until the end of the six-week period, or if there is community group interest in making a bid, within the six-month period (unless to a community group)
- Tell us that the land has been put onto the land register as a result of an application for first registration
- Tell us if you have become the new owner of listed land (giving your name and address)
- Comply with the legislation. If you do not, any sales will be void or ineffective, meaning that the change of ownership has not taken place
- Seek our advice before you start a sale or property transaction
Private owners may claim compensation for loss and expense incurred because their asset is listed or has been previously listed. Most claims will arise from the moratorium period being applied. They may also relate to loss or expense from the land being listed. If you are an owner, you must make a claim to us in writing within 13 weeks from:
- The end of the six-week or six-month moratorium period (as appropriate); or
- The date when the land ceased to be listed (when claiming expenses relating a successful appeal at a tribunal)
We will consider compensation claims.
Reviewing a compensation claim
You can also ask us to review a claim decision and senior officers from the council will carry out this review. You can also appeal against the outcome of our review. You should make this appeal to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal.