What do the following have in common: the Ivy House Pub in Nunhead, south-east London; various football stadiums, including Manchester United’s Old Trafford; Blencathra (the Lake District mountain); and the cold war control tower at the former Greenham Common RAF base (pictured)? Answer: they are all Assets of Community Value (ACVs) listed by the local authority under chapter 3 in part 5 (Community Empowerment) of the Localism Act 2011.

Assets of Community Value: law and practice

Simon Adamyk

£75, Wildy, Simmonds and Hill Publishing

Under this act, district and unitary councils must maintain a list of nominated assets of community value, furthering the social well-being or interests of the local community following nominations from parish councils or local community groups. When listed assets come up for sale or change of ownership, local groups are then given time to put together proposals and raise funds to bid to purchase the asset when it is marketed. It is therefore a right to bid and not a right to buy.

The legislation was introduced because of the rapid loss of local facilities such as pubs and shops. As the government noted in 2011, on average ‘nearly 300 pubs and 400 village shops have closed each year’. But now there are more than 3,000 ACVs of which (the Campaign for Real Ale claims) over 2,000 are pubs across England.

But as every lawyer knows, simple ideas are invariably complex in practice. This is particularly so when different interests (for example, owners and community groups) compete or clash. So Adamyk’s excellent guide to the whole area is particularly welcome.

His book is accessible, clear and comprehensive, and includes essential details of developing tribunal jurisprudence. This is an invaluable companion to anyone (for example, listing local authorities, community groups and their advisers) venturing into this area’s legal thickets.

The work leads readers surefootedly through every part of the jurisdiction. With detailed contents and headings supplementing the index, and tables of cases and statutory and European material, the book is easy to navigate. The appendices (including the relevant part of the Localism Act 2011 and the applicable regulations) and the summary of relevant decided tribunal cases will save practitioners much effort in having to find relevant material. No practitioner in this area should be without it.

Nicholas Dobson is a consultant at Freeths LLP specialising in local authority law and governance