The Localism Bill, currently going through Parliament, suggests making any fields, paddocks or buildings regularly used by the public “community assets”.
This means that the community has a right to try and buy the land or property if it ever changes hands.
Note that – a right to try. But it’s enough to put the wind up potential buyers, of course.
But why to we need such a law?
The idea is to stop important places for sport or recreation being bought by private individuals who will not allow use to continue.
And, of course, it’s going to have the opposite effect; instead of engendering philanthropy in landowners, it’s going to encourage exactly the sort of attitude you’d expect if I were to announce that anyone you’d ever invited to your house for a party would have the right to move in, or tell you what colour wallpaper you should have when you redecorate:
However William Worsley, President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said the legislation is doing “exactly the opposite” of what is was intended for.
He said landowners will be discouraged from making land or private buildings available to the public as once is becomes a “community asset” any sale or transfer to family will be slowed down and even halted.
Regardless of how you feel about land ownership issues, can anyone blame them? And can anyone really not say they hadn’t seen this coming?
The Department for Communities and Local Government said the law is being put in place to stop landowners or councils selling land to owners who then refuse public use to continue.
A spokesman pointed out that the community will not have a ‘“right to buy” but only a right to bid for the property or land and this can be refused. This ‘window of opportunity’ is expected to be a few months to allow the community to raise funds.
A ‘few months’, in a volatile property market, can still make all the difference. And so, once again, the attempt to meddle has blown up in thnjeir faces.
T’was ever thus. When will they get the message?