Community ownership of land and buildings is increasing, having been given fresh momentum as a result of government policy and the work of community organisations to strengthen local involvement and create more sustainable community entities.
Community Asset Transfer (CAT) is what it says – a change in ownership and control from large local authorities and public bodies to town and parish councils or community organisations, including sports clubs, recreational charities and social enterprises. Ownership usually transfers by way of freehold or long leases. Shorter leases and licences to occupy are sometimes used, particularly in the first instance as ‘trial’ arrangements, although such arrangements make it hard for the new owner to secure grant funding, because of the lack of long-term security. CAT is usually taken to mean long leases or freehold transfer.
Once a local authority decides to transfer an asset there is no set time for the process, it will depend on both parties.