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The Localism Act 2011, the regulations, the guidance issued by the Department and statements by Ministers are quite clear that all that needs to be done to prove that an asset is of community value is for 21 members of the public to sign a declaration to the local authority—to Mid Sussex district council, for example—saying that the asset is important to them. As long it is not a private residence or a form of other asset precluded in the Localism Act 2011, the council must list it an asset of community value, and there should be no gold-plating of the regulations as they are currently drafted. It is a very straightforward procedure, so I encourage my right hon. Friend to encourage his communities to adopt this policy.
The listing allows the local community the opportunity to develop a bid to purchase the asset, should it come up for sale. We have seen some positive examples in the case of pubs—the Angler’s Rest in the Peak district and the Ivy House in Camberwell, for example—where listing has helped to prevent the pubs from closing. We want to do more.