The Community Right to Bid gives voluntary and community organisations an opportunity to nominate assets such as buildings or land to be included on a list of ‘assets of community value’. This list is managed by the council under the Localism Act 2011.

If the owner of a listed asset wants to sell the asset and an expression of interest is made by an eligible community interest group within a six week period, then a six month freeze period will be triggered during which time the asset cannot be sold.

The six month freeze gives community groups some time to develop a proposal and raise the required capital to bid for the asset.

What is an asset of community value?

Any building or land may be listed except residential properties, if:

  • The use of the land or building currently, or in the recent past, contributes to the social well-being or cultural, recreational or sporting social interests of the local community
  • This use (as described above) of the building will continue to further the social well-being or interests of the local community
  • The use of the building or land must not be deemed ‘ancillary’, of secondary purpose. This means that the use of the land or building for social well-being or interests of the community must be its principle use

Who can nominate an asset?

An asset must be nominated by an eligible local group who can demonstrate that its activities are wholly or partly concerned with the Bolton Council area, where the asset sits or with a neighbouring authority.

Local authorities cannot list buildings or land on their own initiative.

Eligible groups

It’s important that your community group is eligible to nominate, you can only do this if you answer yes to the two questions below:

  • Do you have a local connection to the property you’re wishing to nominate? and;
  • Are you an unincorporated community group with at least 21 members who are registered to vote in the Bolton area or a parish council, neighbourhood forum, charity, company limited by guarantee which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members, or a co- operative or community benefit society or community interest company.”

How to make a nomination

Download and complete the Community Right to Bid Nomination Form (151kb). 

Completed Nomination Forms should be returned in electronic format to legal.services@bolton.gov.uk.

Nominated assets may be owned by anybody, including for example Bolton Council and the Crown.

How we will process your nomination

On receipt of your completed nomination form, we will:

  • Consider and check the eligibility of the nomination; and
  • Take practicable steps to inform relevant parties that an asset has been nominated.  

Within 8 weeks of receiving the nomination the council will make a decision as to whether the asset qualifies as an asset of community value or whether it falls into one of the ‘Excluded Categories’.

If we decide that the nominated building or land does have community value it will be added to our List of Assets of Community Value (80kb).  Assets will remain on the list for five years and a land charge will be registered against the asset. If the land is registered we will also apply for a restriction on the Land Register.

You will be advised in writing that the asset has been listed together with the date of when it will be removed. We will also notify all relevant parties. When the five years have expired the asset will be removed from the list.  A new nomination will then be required.

Unsuccessful nominations

We will notify you if the nomination is ineligible and provide an explanation as to why it was unsuccessful.  The asset will be added to the council’s List of Land Nominated by Unsuccessful Community Nominations (71kb)

There is no appeals process after the decision is made in respect of the land or property.  However a complaint can be made to us if you feel that the correct procedure has not been followed.

What if the owner objects?

If the owner of the asset objects to their building or land being placed on the List of Assets of Community Value (80kb), they will have a right to an internal review by us. Detailed guidance will be issued to the land owner at time of listing. We will conduct the review within 8 weeks.   If the owner remains in disagreement with the listing after the initial review they have a right of appeal to an independent tribunal.

Making a bid

Once an asset has been listed on the council’s List of Assets of Community Value nothing further will happen unless the owner decides to dispose of it, either through a freehold sale, or the grant or assignment of a qualifying lease (i.e. originally granted for at least twenty-five years).

The owner of the asset must advise us when they intend to sell it – we will then update the List of Assets of Community Value (80kb) to reflect this as well as informing the nominator in writing.

Unless an exemption applies, the asset owner will only be able to dispose of it after a specified time period has expired:

  • A 6 week interim period will apply in all cases from the date that the owner notifies us that he or she wishes to sell the asset.  This period will allow eligible community interest groups to make a written request to us to be treated as a potential bidder (It is important to note that not all the groups mentioned in the ‘Who may nominate an asset’ section above are eligible to place a bid). If none do so, the asset owner is free to sell at the end of the 6 weeks.
  • Once a community interest group makes a written request to us during the interim freeze period to be treated as a potential bidder, the owner may not dispose of their asset during the full 6 month freeze except as permitted (refer to the list of exemptions).  We will notify the owner in writing that a request has been received and publicise this in the local area.
  • After the freeze period – either the 6 weeks if there has been no community interest in the asset, or the full 6 months – the owner is free to sell to whomever they choose and at whatever price, and no further freeze will apply for the remainder of a protected period lasting 18 months (running from the start date of when the owner notified us of their wish to sell).

Asset owners are requested to inform the council if they have become the new owner of listed land or buildings (together with their name and address details).