Two previous posts have highlighted the proposed treatment of Assets of Community Value under the Localism Bill.
In a parallel development, local authorities have been issued with guidance on the exercise of compulsory purchase powers at the request of the community. This is hidden in the obscure depths of Circular 06/04, Compulsory Purchase and the Crichel Down Rules, from DCLG. This document basically tells acquiring authorities how to use their powers of compulsory purchase.
The detail is fairly benign, but the new guidance (page 57 of the Circular) acknowledges that local authorities may receive requests from the community to acquire community assets that are in danger of being lost. The Circular says that these requests must be considered, particularly those from voluntary and community organisations.
Finance will be the limiting factor, as the local authority will have to be able to finance the purchase from its own resources or the requesting organisation. Nevertheless this represents another shift in the balance of power between landownership and the state.