The Church Stretton Area Local History Group has been successful in having the Old School Building (the building which houses the Library) officially registered as an Asset of Community Value.
In England, an Asset of Community Value (ACV) is land or property of importance to a local community which is subject to additional protection from development under the Localism Act 2011. Voluntary and community organisations can nominate an asset to be included on their local authority’s register of asset of community value.
The owner of an asset of community value must inform the local authority if they wish to sell the asset. If a group wants to buy the asset, they can trigger a moratorium for six months, to give them a chance to raise the money to purchase the asset. The owner does not have to sell to a community group. The asset of community value listing only improves the chances of community groups being able to purchase by providing more time to raise funds. It does not require the owner to sell at a discount.
Under the terms of the legislation, registration as an Asset of Community Value covers four aspects.
- Removal of permitted development rights for change of use and demolition: owners seeking to change a building’s planning use class or to demolish it must allow its users to comment
- Material planning consideration: ACV status is a material consideration in a planning application and can be used by the Planning Inspectorate as a factor in refusing planning permission for change of use or demolition;
- Community right to bid: this allows an ACV to be purchased by a group representing its users or the local community;
- Compulsory purchase rights: an ACV-registered building can be compulsorily purchased by the local authority or council “if the asset is under threat of long-term loss to the community”.
Our thanks must go to the CSALHG, since whatever the eventual outcome of the legal challenge, the Old School Building itself now has an extra layer of protection against unwanted future development.