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Protecting Our Iconic Places

Community Right to Buy

A planning system that serves the interests of developers rather than the community has put our iconic pubs and live music venues at risk. Over the last few years, Adelaide has seen the closure of historic pubs like the Tivoli, the Producers and the Wright Street Hotel. The Crown and Anchor is now in the sights of developers. The loss of these venues threatens Adelaide’s cultural and community life.

The Greens’ plan to give the community the right to buy land or buildings that are of community value would throw a lifeline to our iconic pubs and stop the endless decline of our live music venues and SA’s cherished places.

Our Plan

Local Councils, community organisations and charities would be able to nominate land or buildings that are of community value for inclusion on a register to be managed by the Minister for Planning (or a delegated authority).

The Minister would assess whether the land or building is of sufficient benefit to the community to justify a listing (considering factors such as the current and historic cultural and social use of the place).

Once listed, a building or piece of land becomes an ‘Asset of Community Value (ACV)’ and remains on the register for 5 years. During that time, the owner would have to apply to the Minister if they wish to change its use or to sell.

Selling an ACV

If the owner wishes to sell the community would have the right to express interest as a potential buyer during an 8-week period. The Minister would consider applications from Councils, community organisations and charities.

In assessing any application, the Minister would consider the strength of community support for the proposal and benefits that could be delivered, including benefits to community health and wellbeing, arts, culture, sport and the economy.

If an expression of interest (or multiple expressions of interest) is approved a 12-month moratorium is put on the ACV preventing the owner from being able to sell the property. During this time, the community group or Council would have the opportunity to raise funds for their offer.

The value of the AVC will be independently assessed by the Valuer General. If at the end of the 12 month period or before, the community group or Council has the funds necessary, the owner must accept the offer. If no community group or Council is able to raise the funds, the owner is able to freely sell the ACV.

Alternatively, the owner of the ACV could bypass the community right to buy process if they are selling a business as a ‘going concern’ (for instance they sell a pub to a buyer who will continue to operate the space as a pub).

Supporting Communities

To assist community organisations and Councils in raising the funds necessary to purchase ACVs, a special Community Ownership Fund would be established. To access the fund, applicants would have to demonstrate that they can run the ACV sustainably and deliver ongoing benefits to the community. Applicants could apply for up to 50 per cent of the money they need for the project.

The Greens’ propose that the fund be maintained by 1 per cent of the revenue raised by a Developer Tax. This would be approximately $17 million over 4 years.

How Would It Work?

Community Right to Buy

A local Council nominates the Kings Arms, a pub which has been running for 100 years and operates as a successful live music venue. Given the pub’s value to the local community, the Minister adds it to the Register as an Asset of Community Value. The owner later advises the Minister that they wish to sell the pub. The Minister places an initial 8 week moratorium on the sale to provide an opportunity for expressions of interest from the community. A community organisation called, ‘Save the Kings Arms’ is formed and presents a plan to the Minister to keep the pub as a community live music and performing arts space. The plan is approved by the Minister. The pub is assessed by the Valuer General to be worth $1millon. A further 12 month moratorium is placed on any sale to provide the community group with the opportunity to raise funds. ‘Save the Kings Arms’ raises $500,000 and successfully applies to the Community Ownership Fund for the remaining $500,000. The owner is paid $1 million for the property.

Maintaining a ‘going concern’

The owner of the Kings Arms advises the Minister that they wish to sell and have received an offer from the current lease holder to purchase the pub and run it as a live music venue. The Minister approves the sale. The purchaser understands that they will be prevented from changing the use of the venue during the period of the listing, unless special approval is sought from the Minister.