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Community Buy-outs

Volume 602: debated on Monday 9 November 2015

8. What assessment he has made of the potential merits of further extending measures on community buy-outs of local assets. (902055)

All over England communities have listed over 2,600 assets with local authorities. I am undertaking a review of the community right to bid, in line with our manifesto commitment. We are consulting a wide range of stakeholders and will report our findings soon.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 passed in June by the Scottish Parliament decentralises power, giving local authorities and public bodies a legal duty to consider transferring property to communities. Will the Minister consider following the lead of the Scottish Government on this issue and on further decentralisation?

In many ways the hon. Gentleman’s party is following the lead from our party and the Localism Act 2011. The hon. Gentleman needs to consider that community rights in England are not centrally driven or managed from the centre. We should recognise and balance the rights of the local community with the rights of property owners and individuals. We do not want red tape which affects businesses and creates additional burdens on local authorities and taxpayers. That is what the hon. Gentleman’s proposal would create.

What advice would the Minister give to planning authorities that do not treat the presence of community pubs on the register of assets of community value as a material consideration when planning applications are considered?

Local authorities should certainly take into account community rights and the listing of pubs as assets of community value when they make planning decisions in their local area.