5. How does the moratorium work?
The three periods
When land or a building are included in the Council's list of assets of community value, and the Council receives notice from the owner of an intended disposal, the following periods begin to run:-
- In the first instance, there is an "interim moratorium period" of six weeks, during which a defined "community interest group" can submit a written request to be treated as a potential bidder for the land, which the Council must pass on to the owner.
- The "full moratorium period" of six months is triggered if such a request is received. It is intended to give the group time to assemble a bid and, if successful, complete the purchase.
- During the "protected period" of eighteen months (from the same original date), the owner is free to sell the asset without further delay, if no community interest group has submitted a request and/or pursued it through to completion of a purchase within the relevant moratorium periods.
What is a community interest group?
Note that a "community interest group" is defined as a narrower range of bodies than those who can nominate an asset for inclusion on the list:-
- a parish council;
- a charity;
- a community interest company;
or one of the following which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members:-
- a company limited by guarantee;
- an industrial and provident society.
In addition, the body must have a local connection, which means that its activities are wholly or partly concerned with the administrative area of Exeter City Council or a neighbouring local authority. In the case of a body in Group B, any surplus must be wholly or partly applied for the benefit of the same area.