Asset of community value determination report - Lidl, Caister-on-Sea
Application reference: CRB027
Nominated asset: Lidl UK GmbH Supermarket
Site address: Norwich Road, Caister-on-Sea NR30
Parish/ward: Caister South
Applicant: Caister-on-Sea Parish Council
Landowner: Lidl Great Britain Limited
It is the decision of Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC), as the responsible authority, that the Nominated Asset does not satisfy the statutory test set out in section 88(1) or 88(2) of the Localism Act 2011 and shall not be listed as an Asset of Community Value.
- The Localism Act 2011 (the Act) and the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) set out the considerations and procedures that apply where a local community group wishes to nominate land or buildings for listing as assets of community value.
- Section 88 of the Act provides that a building or other land in a local authority's area is land of community value if, in the opinion of the authority:
- an actual current use of the building or other land that is not an ancillary further the social wellbeing of social interests of the local community; and
- it is realistic to think that there can continue to be non-ancillary use of the building or other land which will further (whether or not in the same way) the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community (s.88(1)); Or
- there is a time in the recent past when an actual use of the building or other land that was no ancillary use furthered the social wellbeing or interests of the local community; and
- it is realistic to think that there is a time in the next five years where there could be non-ancillary use of the building or other land that would further (whether or not in the same way as before) the social wellbeing of social interests of the local community (s.88(2))
- Social interests include (in particular) cultural interests, recreational interests and sporting interests (s.88(6)). Social wellbeing is not defined in the Act or the Regulations and is to be interpreted in accordance with the natural meaning of the words.
Caister on Sea Parish Council submitted a nomination to GYBC which was validated on the 11th September 2023 for the Lidl supermarket and associated car parking at Norwich Road, Caister-on-Sea NR30 5JL (shown outlined in red on the attached plan) be listed by the Council as an Asset of Community Value.
The nomination was determined to comply with the detailed provisions of regulation 6 of the Regulations. The nominating organisation is a Parish Council which comes within the definition of a "voluntary or community body" in accordance with section 89 of the Act and regulation 5(1)(b) of the Regulations. The nomination includes a plan of nominated site, which is attached to this Determination Report.
The Lidl supermarket and associated car parking is within GYBC's administration area and does not fall within the list of exceptions set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulation and therefore is not excluded from being land of community value.
As required by Regulation 8 of the Regulations, GYBC has taken all practicable steps to notify the landowner and other interested parties that it is considering listing the land as an Asset of Community Value. Consultation notification letters were posted out on the 11th September 2023.
The applicant has made the following representations in support of the nomination:
- The existing Caister Council Hall (located on Yarmouth Road) is no longer fit for purpose to accommodate the village's social and administrative functions for the parish area, owing to its small size and the building being in a fragile state. It is stated by the applicant that there is no land currently available for a new facility to meet this need.
- The potential vacation of retail supermarket operations from the existing Lidl building provides an opportunity to convert the building into a new civic, community and administrative unit. The applicant states that this could provide function rooms and social spaces to meet the needs of the Parish Council and the general Caister-on-Sea community.
- The applicant considers that the existing car parking area associated with the Lidl supermarket is an essential asset to the village during school term times, on the basis that parents make use of the car parking to drop off/pick-up children to and from the nearby schools, relieving the main roads of congestion.
- It was considered that the retention of the car parking space (linked to any potential conversion of the existing building for civic, community and administrative purposes) would allow residents better and more open access to the local government of their village and allow for community groups to offer their services and functions to residents and visitors.
- The applicant states that nominated asset would be acquired via the sale and possible development of current holdings. The acquisition of financing would be from the Government's "Small Works" finance.
A letter of objection was received by the agent (Carney Sweeney) acting on behalf of Lidl Great Britain Limited (the owner of the site). It was asserted by the agent that the nomination would not satisfy Section 88(1) of the Localism Act on the basis that the associated car parking is an ancillary benefit of the Lidl supermarket and is not the lawful use. It was also argued that changing the use of the site would not continue to provide the same service offered by the discount retailer operation. It was further added that Section 88(2) of the Localism Act would also not apply as the foodstore has been operating on the site for a significant period, with no other uses on the site in the "recent past".
No other letters of objection or support were received by the Council.
Assessment and reasons for the decision
In order to qualify as an asset of community value, an asset must satisfy either the present and future conditions in Section 88(1) of the Act or the past and future conditions in Section 88(2) of the Act. Having considered both representations made by the applicant and agent (on behalf of the owner), GYBC are of the view that the criteria for listing under Section 88(1)(a) or Section 88(2)(a) have not been satisfied.
Section 88(1)(a) provides that the actual current use of the building or other land that is not ancillary should further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.
The current use of the building is for retailing purposes. Whilst retailing (e.g. shops) are a legitimate use that could be considered for listing as an Asset of Community Value, there needs to be a reasonable judgement upon the extent to which it would further the social wellbeing or social interest of a local community. Clearly a single shop in small rural village, or one which is community run, may have greater potential benefits upon a local community than a traditional shop in a larger populated area that is well served by other similar and well-located available facilities.
The existing Lidl supermarket provides for predominantly convenience (food) retailing, but also provides for small element of comparison (household items, clothing etc) retailing. The supermarket is located within an area of wider shopping and community facilities that are principally focused along the High Street, Yarmouth Road and parts of Norwich Road, Beach Road and Tan Lane. This general area is designated as a 'District Centre' in the adopted Great Yarmouth Local Plan, reflecting its above status and importance in serving the needs of the local community.
Analysis of the Council's most recent Retail Survey (September 2023) indicates that there are several convenience and comparison retailers currently operating within the District Centre area of Caister, including 3 smaller sizes supermarkets, a pharmacy, bakery, confectionary, fishmongers and a number of charity shops selling clothing and other household items. A large Tesco Superstore also lies approximately 500m south of the District Centre area.
Whilst the existing Lidl supermarket provides for some retailing provision for the local community and contributes towards the continued vibrancy of the district centre, it is unlikely to be considered as furthering the social interests or social wellbeing of the local community in the context of there already being a demonstrable number of other well-served and available retailing units in the immediate area.
Whilst it is recognised that the associated car parking facilities to Lidl may provide for informal drop off/pick-up facilities in connection with the local schools, this is clearly a benefit that is linked to the car parking's ancillary use to the existing supermarket. Should Lidl decide to restrict the use of the car parking for the purposes of the supermarket only, this benefit would fall away.
Having determined that the nomination does not meet the criteria for listing under Section 88(1)(a) of the Act, there is no requirement to consider the second stage of the test as set out in Section 88(1)(b).
As the nomination is not considered to satisfy Section 88(1) Act, the Council must consider whether the nomination meet the criteria to satisfy Section 88(2) of the Act.
Section 88(2)(1) of the Act provides that there is a time in the recent past when an actual use of the building or other land that was not an ancillary use furthered the social wellbeing or interest of the local community.
The building and associated car parking area has been used for the operation of the Lidl supermarket since it was built in 2001 and there have been no other uses associated with the site since it was built. Therefore, it is not considered that the nomination satisfies Section 88(2)(a) of the Act.
Having determined that the nomination does not meet the criteria for listing under Section 88(2)(a) of the Act, there is not requirement to consider the second stage of the test as set out in Section 88(2)(b).
- In accordance with Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Scheme of Delegation to Officers, it is my opinion that the:
- Nominated asset: Lidl UK GmbH Supermarket
- Site address: Norwich Road, Caister-on-Sea, NR30 5JL
does not satisfy the statutory tests set out in section 88(1) or 88(2) of the Act for the reasons set out above and will not be listed as an Asset of Community Value on GYBC's List of Assets of Community Value.
Alex Chrusciak (Interim)
Head of Planning and Growth