A former police station in the Moorlands could be registered as a community asset – if a local authority gives it the green light. Forsbrook Parish Council has made a nomination, to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC), for the Blythe Bridge Former Police Station and car park in Uttoxeter Road to be registered as an asset of community value.
A former police station in the Moorlands could be registered as a community asset – if a local authority gives it the green light.
Forsbrook Parish Council has made a nomination, to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC), for the Blythe Bridge Former Police Station and car park in Uttoxeter Road to be registered as an asset of community value.
The nomination has been made under the Localism Act 2011. A community asset bid allows communities to nominate buildings or land for listing by the local authority as an asset of community value. If the assets comes up for sale, the community can ‘pause’ the sale and take up to six months to find the funding required to buy the asset.
The current owner of the building, who is already marketing the premises for sale, has made objections to the community asset nomination.
In a report to SMDC, written by council officer Mark Trillo, it sets out the reasons why the current owner is objecting.
It states: “There is no current public right to use the car park and measures are being taken to prevent such use.
“There is no/insufficient detail about groups who want to use the building and funding available for such use.
“Planning permission would be required for a change of use.
“There are other buildings in the area available for community use.
“The division of the site would limit the potential future use and community benefit of that part of the site which is not nominated as an Asset of Community Value.
“The site is currently for sale on the open market with bids expected. A moratorium period granted as a result of a successful nomination to be listed would result in increased costs to the current owner (a public body) and a possible financial loss.”
In response to the objections, Mr Trillo, in his report to SMDC, said: “The car park is ancillary to the main use of the building. Previous case law in relation to listing land as an asset of community value has established that community benefit derived from a use does not have to be based on there having been a public right of access to the use of that land.
“The nomination has been submitted by a public body (the parish council) with specific knowledge of the area and established relationships with key local organisations (both school and library are mentioned). It is considered that the parish council has sufficient knowledge of community needs and potential use of the building to be considered credible in this matter.
“It is not assumed that the community use envisaged would be an obstacle to planning permission being granted for a change of use if required.
“There are other buildings in community use. The parish council, in making its submission, believes these are not sufficient and that the central location of this building (the Police Post) is an important factor.
“It is not possible to evaluate the comparative community benefit from the sale of the whole property for an undetermined use (which itself may or may not require planning permission for a change of use) with the community benefit derived from the division of the site into that identified as an Asset of Community Value (as envisaged by the parish council) and the remainder. The Localism Act does not require that determination to be made.
“A successful listing as an Asset of Community Value may result in a moratorium and consequent financial loss for the current owner but that would be for determination should it occur at that time and is not of itself a reason for refusing a nomination.”
To conclude his report to SMDC, Mr Trillo said: “Officers have assessed the nomination and confirmed that: Forsbrook Parish Council is eligible to make the nomination; The property is not exempt from listing; The property has been demonstrated to have been used (and in the recent past) to further the social well-being and social interests of the local community (as defined by the Localism Act 2011) and current car park use is ancillary; It is realistic to think that the building and carpark can be used in a way which will further the social well-being and social interests of the community within the next five years and; Accordingly the council’s officers have assessed that the criteria for listing has been met and recommend that the Blythe Bridge Former Police Station and Car Park, Uttoxeter Road, Blythe Bridge, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST11 9JR should be listed as an asset of community value.”
The decision on whether the former Police Station in Blythe Bridge is registered as a community asset is set to be made through delegated powers by SMDC at 5pm today (Wednesday, April 22).
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