Out-Law News 1 min. read

Campaigners to apply for ACV listing of mountain

A group of residents in Cumbria is intending to apply to Eden District Council to register a mountain as an asset of community value (ACV). 

Blencathra mountain in the Lake District has been put up for sale by its owner, the Earl of Lonsdale.  If the mountain is registered as an ACV, campaign group The Friends of Blencathra will be allowed six months to come up with a bid to buy it.  During this time no other bids may be accepted.

The group said in a statement that if it is successful in a bid to buy the mountain, it will be held by "a type of trust for the community".

"The exact best type is being investigated for us by professionals. And when we say 'for the community' we are being inclusive - as well as the local community of farmers and nearby residents we include fellwalkers and other users," the group said.

Community umbrella group Locality has announced that more than 1,000 ACV nominations have succeeded since the regime was introduced under the Localism Act 2011.  Around one third of successful listings have been for pubs but other ACVs have included football stadia, school playing fields and a skate park.

“The vast number of listings demonstrates that the ACV regime has really captured the attention of community groups and demonstrates that localism is still alive and well,” said Mike Pocock, planning law expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. 

“The Friends of Blencathra will need to mobilise quickly if they want to secure a right to bid for the mountain as a listing will not have any effect if a sale is agreed before the listing is confirmed. However, even if the listing is confirmed in time the group will need to hope that no other higher bids are received as the owner is free to sell the mountain on the open market after an initial six month moratorium period,” Pocock said. 

“There is a general misunderstanding that the listing will provide a form of protection which will ensure the retention of the asset in the community but the reality is that economics will in most cases determine the ultimate purchaser of the asset,” Pocock said.

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