I’ve enquired with my local authority (Suffolk Coastal District Council) whether a list of the ‘assets of community value’ has been compiled for public view. It is of interest how assets (whether buildings or landscapes) have been identified and what sort of information is to be included. Useful information would be the asset condition, current ownership and lease agreements and whether any community groups or individuals have come forward to enquire and express interest. As yet, no such lists exist (locally anyway). I presume it is responsibility of SCDC’s estates management department to compose and maintain the database.
Transfer by local authorities to local community is allowed when this ‘would help to secure the promotion or improvement of the economic, social or environmental well-being of its area.'(http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/circularlocalgovernment).
English Heritage have also drawn up guidance in taking ownership of heritage assets, published here.
It’s going to be interesting to see how assets are valued by local authorities, and whether their heritage status is taken into account in identifying appropriate potential use. When published, the list is to be on public view, not unlike the existing National Heritage List for England.
I’m looking forward to examining the lists once published. I’m sure many exciting projects will take place to regenerate historic buildings to actively engage with and use heritage for social benefits.
A very contemporary example of Asset Transfer is Grade II listed Broomhill Lido in Ipswich, which has just been pledged a cool million by the local authority, that’s very significant funding. Now it’s up to the Broomhill Pool Trust and Fusion (who run outdoor pools in London) to raise the rest of the capital. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-15841721
Concerning taking ownership of a historic asset, there’s no need to jump straight in at the deep end. Get advice, gain support, gather your team, press go and good luck!