Asset Of Community Value: Update

24 Nov 2021 | 9 comments

For some time now Blues Trust has been communicating with Birmingham City Council with regard to the Asset of Community Value (ACV) registration which applies to St Andrew’s. This was obtained by the Trust in 2019 following the lapse of the previous registration (which happens automatically after 5 years).

This week we received confirmation from the Council that, in its view, the ACV registered on 25 July 2019 continues to be effective despite the recent sale of the ground. The Council have considered a significant amount of detailed legislation and regulations surrounding the validity of the registration, and we thank them for their efforts in doing this.

A number of questions have been asked by Trust members and other Blues fans about why the ACV did not prevent the sale going ahead. It was originally thought that an ACV could prevent the ownership of the ground changing without notification. However, the regulations are very narrowly defined and notification is only required in very specific circumstances. The Council has explained that:

“ there would have been no obligation on BCFC PLC (Birmingham City Football Club PLC) to notify the Council of any sale to BCSL (Birmingham City Stadium Limited) because both those companies appear to be part of a group of companies ultimately controlled by Birmingham Sports Holdings Limited (BSH). As such the disposition of the stadium would constitute a disposal by one body corporate to another where the second one is a group undertaking in relation to the first, within the meaning of paragraph 10 of Schedule 3 to the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012”

Equally, when BCSL recently sold 25% of St Andrew’s to Oriental Rainbow Investments Ltd and 75% to Achiever Global Ltd, thus meaning that BCSL (and therefore St Andrew’s) was no longer owned by the BSH Group, the Council explains that:

“A disposal of any shares in the entity holding the land is not a relevant disposal for the purposes of the scheme relating to Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011”.

This means that only a disposal of the asset itself can constitute a ‘relevant disposal’ and only this requires the Council to be notified. The sale of the company owning the asset appears not to require notification.

In conclusion, from the information provided by the Council and also our own understanding of the role of an ACV, the Trust believes that having an ACV registration does offer a measure of protection about what happens to the ground itself, if not the transfer of ownership through the buying and selling of the company that owns it.

The Fan Led Review being carried out by Tracey Crouch MP has highlighted ground ownership as an issue on which fans should have the right to be consulted, and even possibly be given a veto. This might be by either strengthening the ACV regulations or by giving fans a ‘Golden Share’ which would outrank the rights of the owners to do as they wish with a football ground. The Review is expected to be published very shortly and it will be interesting to see what specific recommendations are finally made.

The Trust continues to monitor the situation regarding St Andrew’s very closely and would be happy to try and answer any further questions about the ACV if you have them.  If you do, please contact the Trust at admin@bluestrust.org

If you just wish to leave a comment, please use the Comments box below.

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9 Comments

  1. Fred Greaves

    Thank you for the latest information about the ground status ! It’s the best that we can hope for, under present circumstances. I enjoyed the AGM. Keep up the good work. You’re doing a great job.

    Reply
    • Michael Knowles

      Thanks for the ACV update. Very helpful and very important as well.
      The Trust should be acknowledged for this registration.

      Reply
  2. John

    Many thanks for all the work going on behind the scenes, aptly demonstrated by this AVC update.

    Whilst many of us supporters moan and prevaricate, on all subjects from the ground to the team and owners, but don’t actually do anything, Blues Trust is beavering away on our behalf; most of the time with very little appreciation or thanks, and all of the time without payment in a total voluntary commitment.

    From what has been stated, as I now (hopefully) understand it given the article’s clarification, it seems that it does not matter who the owner is of the land, but whether the owner tries to change the use/intended use of that land is when the AVC can be invoked and the Council has to be informed.

    It is an important clarification and I feel sure that will ease some angst amongst supporters. St Andrews is at least safeguarded to an extent and I’m certain that the work done by the Trust with the Council, will hold us in good stead should the AVC need to be utilised in future.

    Once again, many thanks for doing so much, by so few for so many.

    KRO

    Reply
    • Bill

      The Blues Trust have carried out an invaluable function with regarding the registration of the AVC and clarifying the current situation regarding St. Andrews. It is to be hoped the protection granted is never used and at sometime in the future the ownership of the ground can be returned to the football club although at this time that looks a way off. KRO

      Reply
  3. Douglas Deans

    Thanks again to the Blues Trust for their persistence seeking clarification into AVC situation and supporting the good name of Birmingham City Football Club.

    Reply
  4. Tmsblues1

    Appreciate all your efforts on this matter.

    Reply
  5. Steve hood

    Great work guys KRO

    Reply
  6. Eric Jones

    Thanks to the Trust for all your work KRO

    Reply
  7. Mitchell Bray

    Can only echo the above sentiments towards the Trust. Add today’s news regarding the need for an independent review into the long term sustainability of football clubs- highlighted again by the Trust- then surely this is the perfect time to get on board and become a member. Strength in numbers and making you as a BCFC supporter really matter as an important contributor. Myself like other non-Board members are just supporters with independent views. What I do recognise is the work BT put in and the information they pass on to supporters. With a flourish of new support who knows what greater numbers can achieve.

    Reply

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