I’m involved in my neighbourhood plan part of a sub-group looking at community facilities, housing, transport and schools. It’s early days, but we are very concerned about the future of our local village college (8-13 yr old students). Would it be possible to list a school as a community asset?
A school meets the cultural, recreational and sporting interests criteria – but would it be exempt under the clause relating to ‘operational land’? The land the school is on appears to be owned by a Cambridge College and held in trust for educational purposes. If the school fails (which it is at risk of doing because the lower school (5-8 yr old students) wishes to expand) then that land could be sold for housing reducing the educational infrastructure of the village despite an increasing population…
Any help on how to take this issue forward would be very welcome.
In theory, it’s possible to nominate a school (or any other other land or building asset). The criteria for listing turns on the asset’s use, and the likelihood of that use continuing, rather than the asset type. You will need to make a case about the college furthering social well being/social interests. To my knowledge, the ‘operational land’ clause does not apply to such an establishment at the nomination stage.
If it were listed, and if the owner chose to sell it in the future, the moratorium period could apply, as long as the sale was not exempt for some other reason in the Act. The moratorium gives relevant local bodies up to 6 months to raise the finance to purchase.
Incidentally, if the land is held in trust there will probably be other issues to be unpicked, pertaining to selling charity land and property. It should be registered at Land Registry.
Hope this helps. Happy to discuss further through the My Community Help Centre http://www.mycommunity.org.uk