Farmers’ Localism Bill success

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FARMERS and landowners in West Sussex will be able to continue selling land and property at their own discretion after The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) successfully opposed Localism Bill clauses.

The clauses, relating to Assets of Community Value (ACV), would have prevented landowners selling land or property deemed valuable to the community until the community had had a chance to raise the funds to bid for it.

The CLA, however, argued against the clauses stating 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.

Rupert Ashby, CLA South East Regional Director, 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.”

The proposal to allow communities the right to bid on land and property will still go ahead, although the CLA’s intervention has secured a significant amendment which will benefit the landowners.

Mr Ashby continued: “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.”