New research by Plunkett UK, commissioned and funded by Building Communities Trust (BCT), sets out recommendations to grow the community ownership sector in Wales.

The report, Community Ownership: A Way Forward for Wales, builds on findings from the 2022 inquiry into community assets in Wales, undertaken by the Welsh Parliament last year. The inquiry drew together evidence that demonstrated the positive social, economic, and environmental impact of community-owned assets.

One year on from the inquiry, this research has been produced to offer a way forward for the commission, setting out short- and long-term priorities.

It offers an overview and evaluation of existing policies and legislation in Scotland and England, identifying strengths and weaknesses to provide lessons for future “community rights” in Wales.

Canolfan Y Fron is a village shop in Snowdonia, that also offers accommodation and a café

In the long term, the evidence suggests that a Community Right to Buy would benefit community ownership projects in Wales, by offering first refusal on assets that come on to the market.

The research also voices the aspirations and needs of community groups, that are either currently undertaking or have recently completed community buyouts. The lived experiences of people undertaking community ownership projects have shaped specific recommendations about what support could be offered in the short to medium term.

Key Findings

  • The number of community-owned assets has grown at a much faster rate in Scotland compared to England, since legislation was introduced.

  • Once triggered, the Community Right to Buy is several times more effective than the Community Right to Bid, and only 1.5% of nominated community assets make it into community ownership in England, compared with 57% in Scotland.

  • 87% of respondents wanted to save an asset from being lost to the community (the most common motivation for a community ownership project); but only 7% were offered the chance to take ownership.

  • 77% of communities reported challenges when trying to acquire their asset. Common causes were capital costs, high price of the asset and uncooperative sellers.

  • Groups trying to purchase assets in private ownership were more likely to report difficulties with an uncooperative seller – 44% compared with 10% of publicly-owned assets.

  • Prior awareness of community ownership may mean communities are more likely to take on assets – 67% said they were aware of community ownership prior to starting the project.

  • Welsh groups had the lowest level of prior awareness, while Scottish groups had the highest.

  • Welsh groups accessed information and support from a more limited range of sources, were more likely to report lack of skills/knowledge being a barrier; and were more likely to rely

Have any questions?

For questions about the research, please contact Georgina Edwards, Policy and Research Manager.

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