OSWESTRY residents could be about to get their hands on a piece of the town after a new government initiative won the approval of councillors.
The Community Right to Bid scheme will give people a chance to nominate buildings and land for listing as a community asset with a view to purchasing them when they are put on the market.
Oswestry town councillors welcomed the scheme when they were asked to comment on the town’s first nomination for The Ironworks music venue.
And they suggested hosting an open event where people can suggest sites that have the potential for listing, including Oswestry Hillfort and Oswestry Methodist Church.
Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Chris Schofield, told members: “I welcome it. If people want to make a community bid then I totally support it.”
Councillor Martin Bennett continued: “This is the first we have had, but it may not be the last. Other groups may come forward.
“I can think of a number of buildings that could be registered as community assets.”
To be listed, the site must benefit the community through social well-being or interests and be verified by Shropshire Council, with town and parish councils having the opportuntity to comment.
They will remain on the list for up to five years and when the site is put up for sale a moratorium of up to six months will provide community groups with the opportunity to raise finance, develop a business plan and make a bid.
But councillors also voiced concerns that they may be asked to assist with raising funds.
Cllr Schofield continued: “Community groups cannot expect us to pay for it because then it would not be the community doing it.”
Councillor Sandy Best added: “I think we are in a situation where we could find ourselves in a major mire.
“We need to be clear because if we are supporting this then what role would that be? And to some people it may be a community asset but not to others.”
Nominations can be made by parish councils, neighbourhood forums, unconstituted groups of at least 21 members, and not-for-profit organisations.
The initative also gives small organisations the opportunity to build, run a public service and have the management and/or ownership of buildings and land transferred to them.