Chapter 5: Consultation when planning to dispose of or change the use of common good property
1. Section 104 requires the local authority to consult with the local community when it is planning to dispose of common good property, or change its use. The local authority must publish details of the proposed disposal or change of use of common good property, and notify and invite representations from community councils and community bodies.
What information should be included about the property?
2. The proposal should clearly state which property the change relates to and exactly what change is being proposed, along with likely timescales. The local authority should use the same information about the property which is included in the common good register.
3. In relation to cash funds, “change of use” would not cover every payment to different people, or moving investments about, but would include, for example, changing the rules about what type of things could be funded.
Where and how should details be published?
4. In common with the requirements for publishing the common good register, members of the public should be able to view any proposals to change the use of, or dispose of, common good property on the local authority’s own website.
5. The local authority should also ensure that members of the public can view the proposals in person at local council offices, council hubs and local libraries. The local authority should either produce paper copies of the proposals or ensure that staff in these locations are able to assist members of the public in viewing an electronic version.
6. The local authority should publicise the consultation on its website, on social media or in publications which it produces. It may also be possible to have automated notifications linked to the common good register. Where the proposal is likely to affect a large number of people, the local authority may also wish to consider advertising in the local press or holding public meetings.
7. If the request relates to a building or area of land, a public notice should be placed on the building or land, or on an object close to it. If it is a building open to the public, the local authority may also want to put a copy somewhere prominent inside. However, it is more important that the notice is put up where interested people will see it than that it is on or adjacent to the land in question. It could be displayed in a village shop, on a community noticeboard or an information point in a car park – wherever local events and notices are normally advertised.
8. The local authority must invite community councils and other community bodies to consider and give their views on the proposal, making it clear that all representations will be published. This ensures that the process is carried out in a transparent way.
9. The local authority should allow eight weeks from the date of publication for community bodies and others to make representations. This ensures that individuals, community councils and other community bodies have an opportunity to consider the proposal and how it might affect them.
10. The local authority should aim to consider and respond to any representations within eight weeks of receiving them.
11. The final response(s) should then be published online alongside the original representation(s). The local authority should also ensure that it publishes the final decision about the proposal (i.e. whether the proposal will be taken forward and any changes which will be made) and notify community bodies and anyone who made a representation.
Amendment of proposals
12. In some cases, the local authority may decide to amend a proposal in response to changing circumstances or the representations received. If an amended proposal is materially different from the original, then a new eight week consultation should be carried out.