Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Launceston Town Council seeks community asset protection for town car parks

Following on from yesterday's news that Cornwall Council have put two of Launceston's car parks up for sale despite no consultation with the local community, tonight the town council voted to seek legal protection for the car parks. The council will seek to have the sites (and all other CC car parks in our town) listed as 'assets of community value' under the Localism Act.

The Localism Act is one of the best pieces of legislation passed by the coalition government. It does various things including allowing local communities to have much more say about what should be built and where. But in this case it allows town and parish councils and community groups to have buildings and land which play a key role in the local community listed as assets of community value. Should the owner of the site want to sell then the local council or community group can have to sale put on hold whilst they put together a bid to buy it.

It doesn't mean that the local council or group will automatically win the bid - they still have to offer more or put together a better bid in another way than anyone else that makes an offer. But it allows the time that local organisations or town councils need to raise the funding and write a decent business plan. It also means that Cornwall Council cannot asset strip a local area in record time and behind closed doors.

I thoroughly support this move by Launceston Town Council. It cannot stop the decision to sell the car parks. But it can delay the process and give the local community the chance to put together a bid to continue to run them as car parks if that is their wish.

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