The Department of Communities has added another Appendix to Circular 06/2004 in relation to the exercise of compulsory purchase powers by local authorities at the request of the community.

It states that:

  • Local authorities should consider and formally respond to requests from all third parties (particularly voluntary and community organisations) that put forward a scheme for a particular asset that would require compulsory purchase to proceed.
  • When considering a proposal, a local authority should:
    • ensure that the full cost of the scheme (including compensation payable to the current owner) can be met from its own resources or with a partial or full contribution from the requesting organisation; and
    • ask those making the request for the information necessary to consider if there is "a compelling case in the public interest for compulsory acquisition".

As a result of the localism agenda of the Coalition Government, considerable interest has been expressed by local communities in the acquisition of assets for community purposes. In order to avoid duplication of work, local authorities might consider publishing guidance on the information they require. Such guidance might include:

  • The value of the asset to the community
  • The perceived threat to the asset
  • The future use of the asset
  • Who would manage it (including a business plan where appropriate).