PEOPLE in Bridgwater are being urged to save important landmark buildings in the town centre from being demolished or turned into blocks of flats.
Buildings such as The Hope Inn, Bridgwater Magistrates Court, The Black Horse Inn and Castle House are among the landmarks identified as important to keep intact.
The idea is part of the Community Right to Bid legislation brought in by the Government in 2012 to give community organisations the right to identify assets they believe are of value to the community and nominate them to be listed on the council’s register of assets of community value.
If the asset comes up for sale the community will be given time to make a bid to buy it on the open market.
Bridgwater Civic Society chairman Dave Chapple said: “There are five or six buildings in or around Bridgwater that could be demolished or turned into flats.
“They are any number of buildings that would be a loss to the community.
“People need to start to think about other buildings which could be of use for the community.”
A working party has been set up by the town council to look at buildings which could be listed as assets of community value.
There are issues with Commu-ity Right to Bid – for example, it does not guarantee that the community will be able to buy the asset.
Cllr Brian Smedley is on the council’s working party, but said he has his doubts about the effectiveness of the legislation.
He said: “Once an asset is registered it can only delay a sale by up to six months.
“The owner’s under no obligation to sell to the community group, and can hang on for six months and sell on to the highest bidder.
“The whole process gives false hope to the local community.
“It can delay a sale and annoy a property owner, but that’s the most that can be achieved.”