Published: December 5, 2013
Community groups to get 'right to bid' for key buildings in Burnham

The future of key community buildings and facilities in Burnham-On-Sea is to be safeguarded through new government legislation that gives community groups the right to bid for them.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council has this week approved plans to draw up a formal asset register of buildings and land that are considered to be of real community value.

Under the government's Localism Act legislation, the council is applying under the 'Community Right to Bid' to formally register many key facilities as parish assets.

These assets will be registered with Sedgemoor District Council and if the current owner puts them up for sale in the future, they will have to notify the council and in turn community groups will first be given the option of making a bid for them, thereby safeguarding their future.

The proposed list of assets includes Burnham and Highbridge Libraries, The Pavilion, The Ritz Cinema and Social Club, Burnham and Highbridge Community Centres, The Learning Centre, Tourist Centre, BAY Centre, Octopus Children's Centre, Morland Community Hall, Highbridge Children's Centre and Southwell House.

Sports facilities on the proposed community assets list include Burnham Bowls Club, Avenue Tennis Club, BASC Ground, the Bay Centre sports ground and Burnham Swim and Sports Academy.

Parks and open spaces included as community assets will include Apex Park, Marine Cove, Manor Gardens, Southwell Gardens, Crosses Pen, all children's play areas, Rosewood Green and Queen's Square. Car parks are also included.

Town Council Clerk Denise Emery told "This is a way of highlighting and safeguarding the key buildings and land in Burnham and Highbridge that are really valued by the community."

"The 'right to buy' legislation aims to help avoid them being lost in the future as community facilities, providing there are statutory groups willing to come forward to buy them."

Groups that consider buying the assets are given six months to prepare a bid before the asset can then be sold on the open market.

The Community Right to Bid scheme covers private as well as public assets. Further details about the process are available here.

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