Community rights

In addition to existing policies The Localism Act 2011 provides a legal set of rights for communities handing more power back to local people. The actual regulations around each of these aspects are complex so please read the full details below, or contact us for more information.

Under the Localism Act 2011 communities now have the right to draw up a neighbourhood plan, so they can influence the future of their local community.

Communities will be able to form a neighbourhood forum or work through a Parish Council to agree on the kind of new houses, shops and businesses that should be developed in the local area.  

Local communities will be able to grant planning permissions in the areas they would most like to see new developments, ensuring they are delivered much quicker and the process is made easier.
Under the Localism Act 2011 the Community Right to Bid is intended to help keep assets of community value in the local area. This might be a local library, community centre or local pub, etc that is threatened with closure or sale.

To support this process the Council maintains a list of assets that have been nominated as having community value. When a listed asset becomes available for sale or change in ownership, the act gives community groups the time to put together a bid and to raise the capital needed to bid to buy the asset when it is available on the open market.

The council deems a building or land is to be of community value if:
  • A current main use of the building or land furthers the social interests or well-being of the local community and it can realistically continue to do so, even in a different way.​

  • The building or land was used recently to further social interests or well-being and it can realistically do so again in the next five years.
     

  • administrative offices
  • land or property where community use is secondary to its main purpose
  • land attached to residential property (although the regulations set out certain exceptions for shops and pubs)
  • land covered by caravan sites and Control of Development Act 1960
  • land used by public utilities, defined as operational land in section 263 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
 
For a full list of exemptions and related definitions, please see the regulations here
Firslty, it is important that your community group is eligible to nominate. You can only do this if you answer yes to both questions below:
  • Do you have a local connection to the property you are wishing to nominate?
     
  • Are you an unincorporated community group with at least 21 members who are registered to vote in the Northumberland area; a parish council, charity, industrial and provident society, local neighbourhood forum, company limited by guarantee or a community interest company?
​If this is the case then you should complete a nomination form.  The process is complex so we strongly advise you to read the FAQ and guidance before proceeding.  Please feel free to contact us for more information.
We usually acknowledge receipt of the nomination within three working days, and will make our decision within eight weeks of receiving your nomination.  Once we have received the completed form, we will consider and check the eligibility of the nomination. If we feel the property does have community value, it will be added to the list of assets.  Assets will remain on the list for five years and a land charge will be registered against the property. We aim to assess nominations within eight weeks.

You will be advised that the property has been listed and the date when it will be removed. It is important you note the date, as there will be no further contact with you unless the property owner decides to sell. When the five years have expired, you can submit a new nomination.

If we decide to list a property, the owner can ask for a review and there will be an appeal to an independent body. If this happens then further guidance will be provided in the letter to the property owner.

We will tell the nominee if the nomination is ineligible and provide an explanation of why it was unsuccessful. The property will then be added to the list of ‘land nominated by unsuccessful community nominations’ and will remain on that list for five years.  There is no appeal or review process for unsuccessful nominations.

 
Tony Kirsop (Community Regeneration Manager)
Tel: 01670 624744
Email: tony.kirsop@northumberland.gov.uk

Post: 
Community Right to Bid
Planning & Economy
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
NE61 2EF
 
The Council’s community asset transfer policy is designed to give eligible organisations the opportunity to take over ownership of buildings that the Council has deemed as surplus to the organisation’s needs.

The policy covers any asset owned by the Council, and is not restricted to those assets that are identified by the council’s asset management strategy as surplus to requirements. It also includes property attached to a transfer of service provision, either long or short-term, and transfers to specialist service providers, eg leisure trusts.  All decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis.
Transfer is generally considered to relate to leasehold or freehold arrangements in some cases at less than best consideration, or to giving community-led organisations first-refusal on a commercially-based disposal.
In transferring its assets to a community organisation, the council will consider the transfer of:
  • management
  • short/medium-term lease
  • long lease
  • freehold

Should you or your organisation wish to enquire about the possibility of taking over the ownership or responsibility for management of a Council asset, we would encourage you to contact us to discuss your requirements.

Tony Kirsop (Community Regeneration Manager)
Tel: 01670 624744
Email: tony.kirsop@northumberland.gov.uk

Post: 
Community Asset Transfer
Planning & Economy
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
NE61 2EF

 

Under the Localism Act 2011, the Community Right to Build, which is part of neighbourhood planning, enables local people to bring forward small, site-specific, community-led developments such as a playground, shops and up to 20 houses.

Development proposals will need to meet the minimum criteria and have the agreement of more than 50% of local people that vote through a community referendum. It will be for communities to decide on the type of development they want to see, including the type and tenure of any housing.  Any benefits from any development - such as capital or rental receipts - will remain within the community.
 
In order to be able to use the right, members of a community will need to set themselves up as a corporate body with the purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the local community.

Development proposals will need to meet the minimum criteria and have the agreement of more than 50% of local people that vote through a community referendum. It will be for communities to decide on the type of development they want to see, including the type and tenure of any housing.  Any benefits from any development - such as capital or rental receipts - will remain within the community.
 
In order to be able to use the right, members of a community will need to set themselves up as a corporate body with the purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the local community.
Under the Localism Act 2011 the Community Right to Challenge allows voluntary and community groups - including social enterprises, Parish Councils and local authority staff - the right to express an interest in taking over a council-run service.

The aim is that local groups and organisations with new or good ideas should be able to put them forward and drive through improvements in local services.

Expressions of interest can be submitted to the commercial and procurement service manager at any time throughout the year. The Council is required to consider and respond to an expression of interest and it should initiate an open procurement process for that service.

Once the authority accepts an expression of interest this will trigger a full procurement exercise. This will be carried out in line with the authority’s existing procurement procedure and procurement law.  It is worth highlighting that once a service undergoes a full procurement exercise, the opportunity to bid for the service is opened up to all organisations (including the private sector).

An expression of interest can be rejected, but only on the grounds set out in the statutory guidance.  When an expression of interest is unsuccessful, we will write to the applicant explaining why the application was rejected.

Lee Jackson (Commercial and Procurement Services Manager)
Tel: 01670 622650
E-mail: Lee.Jackson@northumberland.gov.uk

Post:
Community Right to Challenge
Local Services
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
Morpeth
NE61 2EF