Landowners’ dismay at MPs call for more failed ‘Community Right’ policies

03 February 2015

The CLA has expressed dismay at the failure of MPs to recognise the counter-productive impact ‘community right’ has on attracting much needed investment in rural communities.

The organisation which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses gave evidence to the Select Committee Inquiry on Community Rights last year. In its evidence, the CLA asked MPs to consider carefully whether the ‘community rights’ model actually led to land and buildings being brought into use as community facilities. Unfortunately, their conclusions show that existing ‘community rights’ are not delivering the intended results.

The CLA evidence set out the case for how ‘community rights’ rules act as a restriction on investment and prevent properties from being brought into better community use.  

CLA President Henry Robinson said: “We are disappointed MPs have failed to take the opportunity to challenge the flawed premise of community rights. We all want to see a sustainable future for valued community services like pubs and post offices, and community ownership is a model that can work. However, community ownership cannot be imposed by regulation, it requires pooling of resource between landowners and a positive community spirit. 

“We have warned against the unintended consequences of community rights from the outset. The report does not recognise that land and property owners have invested in their local communities over generations, and as a result hundreds of assets are provided free, or at low cost, for local people to use. Where community rights are imposed it can create conflict and actively prevent a landowner from making assets available to the community. 

“It is a particular concern when disputes over community rights lead to legal challenges and appeals. Throwing away taxpayers’ money to push these rights further at a time when resource is tight is not the solution and puts significant pressure on local authorities.”