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Localism Bill still clashes with spirit of Big Society, says CLA

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The CLA today (15 August) said the Governments summary of responses to its consultation on proposals for Community Right to Buy and Assets of Community Value in the Localism Bill is still in conflict with David Camerons Big Society agenda.

The proposals will allow communities and local authorities to acquire the right to put land or buildings on a list, with the owner of the asset losing the right to sell until the local community has had a chance to raise the funds to bid for it.

CLA President William Worsley said: It is unfortunate the consultation has gone straight into how to implement the proposals rather than understanding their merits. The range of responses detailed in the summary demonstrates how complicated and expensive this matter is and means the Government should think again to remove these clauses from the Bill.

Landowners in rural areas already provide thousands of privately owned assets for the use of the local community such as a playing field or village hall. They have done so for generations without State interference, so the regulatory proposals are unnecessary and ill-thought out.

The proposals threaten this long-standing tradition and could lead to the withdrawal of property available for community use.

Mr Worsley added: It is the benefits of a particular service that a community values, not the building. Even if a community group can buy the asset, it still needs the resources and business acumen to run it.

The Government has put traditional gestures of goodwill in the countryside under threat which clashes with the spirit of the Big Society.

The summary of the responses received by the Government for the Community Right to Buy – Assets of Community Value consultation paper can be accessed here:

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has around 35,000 members.

As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their asset: the land. We are dedicated to supporting landowners and their businesses. Our success is measured by how effectively we do that. We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support.

We have been looking after the interests of our members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership, land management and rural business activities for the past 100 years. CLA members own or manage approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts us in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.

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