Localism, a Future for Heritage?

Assets of Community Value

The spanking new Localism Act 2011 declares that a ‘list of assets of community value’ be maintained by the local authority. This includes both land and buildings which could be of use for community benefit, from arts facilities to business venues through to pubs and allotments. This may be about saving and safeguarding a facility for the future. The Trimley Station project is a good example of Localism in action.

Local authorities are to determine which assets will be on the list, and it is as yet unclear which departments will be responsible, and how much public consultation there will be. This could be a real step forward in protecting historic buildings for community benefit. Once identified by a community, a case is put forward to take on the  management of  the building, its lease and operation. Any profits are reinvested back into activities which benefit the community.

If you enjoy legalese, the full Localism Act 2011 is here

Otherwise, plain English here

Alongside the Big Society agenda, and organisations such as the Charity Bank and Architectural Heritage Fund, avenues of heritage protection are being created. It seems that the future for heritage is to seek multi-streamed funding for projects to kick start community based endeavours with social enterprise.

A community ( individual or group) or the local authority itself can nominate a site, and the local authority assesses the claim that the site has community value.

Let the dust settle, we’ll see if a land grab can now take place, which could make for an alternative property market. It’s going to be interesting to see how this entwines with the NPPF…