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CLA secures improvements to Localism Bill in favour of farmers and landowners

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The CLA has successfully opposed Localism Bill clauses relating to “so called” Assets of Community Value (ACV) which could have prevented farmers and landowners from selling land or property at a time of their choosing if it was deemed to be of value to communities.

The Association lobbied against the clauses arguing that landowners in rural areas already provide thousands of privately owned assets for the use of local communities such as playing fields and village halls. It said this long-standing tradition was under threat and that many rural advisers told clients to withdraw assets from community use.

CLA President William Worsley said: “We persuaded a number of Peers to object to the ACV clauses at Committee Stage in the Lords and, thankfully, Baroness Hanham agreed to a redraft in time for Report Stage.

“We have worked closely with the Government to reduce the detrimental impact on the countryside of allowing communities and local authorities to acquire the right to put land or buildings on a list, with the owner losing the right to sell until the community has had a chance to raise the funds to bid for it.”

Mr Worsley said a number of improvements had been made to the Bill to the benefit of farmers and landowners.

He said: “The proposals now include a better definition of ‘community asset’, meaning it must be seen to further the social well-being of the local community. Also, individuals will not be able to nominate assets to go on the council-led list which affords the owners some protection.

“Although the proposal to allow a Community Right to Bid is still going ahead, the CLA has secured a significant amendment on what was originally intended.”

He added: “We shall continue to work with the Government to ensure exemptions for residential premises and associated land, part-listed land, disposals as a result of pre-existing arrangements, transfers between connected companies, an independent right of appeal and compensation for loss of expense incurred as a result of listing assets.”

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