Community Asset Transfer

Community Asset Transfer involves the transfer of ownership and/or management of land or buildings from a statutory body (such as the Council) to a community based organisation or group (such as a charity or community interest company) at less than market value for local social, economic or environmental benefit.

If you are interested in asset transfer it is useful to:

  • gather evidence to show how the community and local people will benefit from the transfer 
  • gather evidence of community support for the transfer 
  • check that the land and buildings in question would be able to generate enough income to fund repairs, maintenance and ongoing operational costs.

If you want to proceed with a Community Asset Transfer, we will require you to submit a Stage 1 application form, and subject to that being appropriate, develop a business case to show that the community is capable of maintaining and operating the land or building into the future. Please see our Community Asset Transfer Toolkit for more information.

Community Asset Transfer Toolkit

Register of Community Asset Transfers

The Register of Community Asset Transfers can be viewed here (PDF, 57kb).

Frequently asked questions

What is Community Asset Transfer?

Community Asset Transfer (CAT) is a change in management of land or buildings from public bodies (eg local authorities) to community and voluntary sector groups, such as a social enterprise, a Community Interest Company etc. for less than market value to achieve a local social, economic or environmental benefit.

Will the Council transfer the freehold?

No, the Council does not normally transfer the freehold on a CAT. The standard lease length is now 99 years and is typically at a peppercorn rental. A long lease is granted so user clauses can be inserted to ensure continued community use, and in the event of a community group disbanding the premises would automatically revert back to the Council.

What properties are available for Community Asset Transfer?

Assets no longer required by the Council for direct service delivery together with those assets already let to community groups may be considered for CAT.  These may include public halls, community centres, bowling greens, public conveniences, play areas, allotments etc.

Other assets identified by the Council as being surplus to requirement or underperforming may also be considered.

What properties are NOT available for Community Asset Transfer?

Properties that support the delivery of essential services, continue to provide an income to the Council (form part of the investment estate) or support economic activity in an area will not be available for CAT.

The Council must also balance the needs of the community and its commitment to CAT against its need to generate capital receipts in order to invest in essential capital projects. Assets which have the potential to generate significant capital receipts for the Council may not be considered suitable for CAT either.

There are also some assets that may not be considered suitable for transfer because of restrictive covenants ie assets gifted to the Council for educational purposes, charitable trusts etc.  Some restrictive agreements can be lifted, but it can take time to obtain approval.

Who can apply for a Community Asset Transfer?

Third sector organisations or groups based and operating within the District will be considered for suitable assets by the Council.  Such organisations may take the form of parish councils, local community groups, charitable or not-for-profit organisations, co-operatives or community benefit industrial and provident societies with an asset lock.

How do you apply for a Community Asset Transfer?

You need to fill in a Community Asset Transfer Application (Stage 1 of 2) form (PDF, 395kb), and a member of the Bradford Council CAT team will get in touch with you and guide you through the rest of the process.

What happens if more than one community organisation is interested in the same asset?

If we receive more than one expressions of interest, we ask all interested parties to exchange contact information and investigate working together.

What support and guidance is available to community organisations wishing to apply for Community Asset Transfer?

Please see the CAT Toolkit available on this page. The Toolkit includes CAT Guidance and a Diagnostic Questionnaire for community organisations on their readiness to apply for a Council asset; it also includes an Asset Handover Checklist to facilitate the final stages of the transfer.  

The Council’s Community Asset Transfer Team can be consulted for help and advice:

What would the community organisation be responsible for if the asset was to be leased?

Once the building has been leased, the community organisation will be responsible for complying with all relevant legislation and for meeting all operating costs. It should be noted that additional support is often required particularly in relation to technical expertise around asbestos, health and safety, compliance with the Equality Act 2010, fire risks, legionella and related risks. The organisation should consider in advance how such issues will be addressed.

Will the Council provide any direct legal assistance or property advice?

No, for the Council to provide direct legal assistance or property advice would be a conflict of interest. Any organisation interested in applying for an asset transfer will need to seek independent legal advice on the process and any transfer which is approved. Currently (whilst funds last) the Council contributes £1,000 toward an organisation’s legal and other professional fees on the completion of each CAT.

Where can we get any help in preparing for a Community Asset Transfer?

Nationally Locality provide online resources to empower organisations to manage properties in their communities. Locally Community Action Bradford and District (CABAD) can provide helps and assistance in preparing a CAT request and a suitable business case. Sport England has an online resource to support organisations planning a CAT of sports related premises. The National Allotment Society can offer support to community organisations applying for an allotment CAT.

Why do I have to provide a robust business case for Community Asset Transfer?

Assets transferred on a CAT must be self-sustaining. The business case is to demonstrate that plans are in place to ensure sufficient income is generated to pay all of the running costs and address any maintenance issues. Organisations taking a CAT should not expect a subsidy from the Council to run the premises.

How long does a Community Asset Transfer take?

The Council aims to respond to the initial expression of interest immediately, but it may take up to a year to complete the full transfer. Although the Council has a formal process to follow in assessing CAT applications, most applications have to be considered on an individual basis, which may take time. Besides, there may be other CAT requests that need to take priority. Additionally there will be considerable work required by community organisation prior to submitting the formal application form. It is anticipated that the process should not take longer than 18 months.

So I have completed the Community Asset Transfer, what happens now? Will I ever see someone from the Council again?

A CAT should be considered a long-term partnership with the Council. The CAT Team will offer continued help and support and plan to visit each property transferred on a CAT bi-annually. A support visit is also an opportunity to discuss such things as statutory compliance, health and safety etc. and make sure that the property is adequately insured.

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