Oundle Town Council has expressed an interest in registering a Community Right to Bid on the field adjacent to Abbott House. The land is owned by Northamptonshire County Council, who might soon be considering an option to sell the property as part of an asset disposal scheme in order to raise funds to implement the new two-tier school system in East Northamptonshire.
To enable a Community Right to Bid, the Town Council must put together a case proposing that the field should be listed as an Asset of Community Value.
As a result of the Localism Act 2012, community groups have been able to declare and register an interest in local property that has been listed as an Asset of Community Value prior to it being put on the open market.
Before selling a property that has been listed as an Asset of Community Value, the owner must first notify the council, which then extends a period of six weeks for local community groups to consider whether to register a Community Right to Bid.
There is then a further period of six months to provide the community groups an opportunity to develop a justified case for their purchase and raise the necessary funds.
In order for an asset to be accepted as being of community value, its main use should have recently been, or is presently used to further the social wellbeing or interests of the community and could continue to do so in the future. These include social, cultural or sporting interests.
Locally, 22 people petitioned East Northamptonshire Council to list The Wheatsheaf in Upper Benefield as an Asset of Community Value. The decision was taken in July to include the former pub in the register.
If the owners decide to sell the property, the community group will be given the opportunity to register an interest to bid on it, and will then have time to raise the funds.
It is known that the Neighbourhood Plan will designate the field in Oundle as a ‘significant green area’, as it is considered an important area for the town.
The council would be interested to hear from anyone in the community who can confirm and provide evidence that the field has been used for community activities in the past.
By Lucy Ing