Otley’s MP has criticised Leeds City Council for “denying the right of communities” to have a say over the future of important local assets.
Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) made the claim, citing the example of the recently closed Wharfe View Cafe as evidence, in the House of Commons last week.
The soon-to-be-demolished cafe, better known as Dunnies, was the subject of an unsuccessful bid to have it registered as an Asset of Community Value.
If successful, such bids can hold up sales for up to six months while local communities get the chance to make their own offers for the building or land in question.
Mr Mulholland is calling for a Parliamentary debate on the Asset of Community Value scheme and whether local authorities are supporting it adequately.
He said: “Some councils – including, I am afraid, Leeds – are deliberately turning down applications on the basis that they do not believe the community could have a viable bid.”
Speaking afterwards, he added: “Leeds City Council is undermining and ignoring the legal right of local communities to register important amenities as Assets of Community Value, which is completely disgraceful.
“Communities in other areas have been delighted to use the powers given to them in the Localism Act, but in Leeds they are being denied this important opportunity.
“It seems Leeds has no faith in local residents who want to preserve important local amenities, so the Department for Communities and Local Government must investigate this.”
Responding for the Government, Leader of the House Andrew Lansley MP said: “I hope Mr Mulholland’s local council will listen to what he has to say about Assets of Community Value in his constituency.”