Leeds United Supporters’ Trust can confirm that its application to make Elland Road an Asset of Community Value (AoCV) has now been formally approved and listed by Leeds City Council.
Elland Road Football Stadium was first previously listed as an Asset of Community Value in October 2017 by ex-Trust board member Ian McMullen. The five-year listing period recently expired, and the Trust submitted a new nomination.
Leeds United gave full backing to the application and provided a supporting letter to Leeds City Council to support The Trust in listing Elland Road as an Asset of Community Value.
Over the years the importance of football grounds to the local community and economy has continued to grow and Leeds United have played a part in the city for over 100 years. Elland road is and will continue to be one of the main focal points of the city - an indelible landmark.
In simple terms, an AoCV enables three key things:
Community right to bid: The Localism Act 2011 and the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 contain the rules relating to the “Community Right to Bid”. The purpose of this right is to give communities a right to identify a property or land that is believed to further their social interests or social wellbeing and gives them a fair chance to make a bid to purchase the property or land on the open market if the owner decides to sell. From the date the landowner informs the Council of their intention to sell “community interest groups” as defined in the Regulations have a period of six weeks to request in writing for the group to be treated as a potential bidder in relation to the land. If they do make such a request, the owner is prevented from disposing of the property for a period of six months (from the date they originally informed the Council of their intention to sell) unless it is to a community interest group. The landowner is free to dispose of the property at the end of the six-month period to whomsoever they see fit.
For Leeds United fans, this means that Elland Road cannot now be sold without community groups (such as the Supporters’ Trust in this instance) being informed and given a right to bid to purchase it. The AoCV provides a level of security against secret sales.
Planning applications: The AoCV status of a property or piece of land would be taken into account – along with other relevant factors – when determining planning applications relating to the site.
Compulsory purchase rights: A community organisation can request that a local authority uses its compulsory purchase powers to acquire a site registered as an AoCV if the asset is under threat of long-term loss to the community, subject to funding being available within the local authority or provided by the community organisation to cover the cost of the purchase, compensation, and the compulsory purchase process itself.
The AoCV is a decision that helps to protect fans' interests in the long term and stop owners for using our beloved ground as an “asset.” To many Leeds fans this isn’t just a ground, it’s their home and the club’s legacy.
Securing this status publicly and legally reinforces that Elland Road remaining the home of Leeds United is an unequivocal commitment and central to our new ownerships vision for the future.
This listing means that Leeds fans can now exercise their community right to keep Leeds United at its spiritual home, by protecting Elland Road’s future and being part of any process in the event of it being sold. There is no denying the club need to make significant improvements to the stadium and facilities – but it’s something fans should be involved with every step of the way.
The AoCV helps to safeguard the future of the club, but more crucially, it ensures that fans continue to have a voice in that future. You can find the full report from Leeds City Council online.
Leeds United Supporters Trust said: “The AoCV listing recognises the role of our historic ground and club within the community and offers some protection against worst-case scenarios of asset stripping. This means Leeds fans can now exercise their community right to keep Leeds United at its spiritual home, by protecting Elland Road’s future and being part of any process in the event of it being sold. We would like to thank Leeds United once again for their support and backing of the new application and understanding the importance of Elland Road not just to the fans, but the wider community.”
Leeds United Chief Executive Angus Kinnear said: “We are pleased to have, once again, worked closely with the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust and Leeds City Council to successfully classify our home an Asset of Community Value.
“Securing this status publicly and legally reinforces that Elland Road remaining the home of Leeds United is an unequivocal commitment and central to our new ownerships vision for the future. Over the coming years we can look forward to increased investment in our home, and the surrounding area, with our ultimate objective to provide the communities we serve with a stadium befitting of our great city.”
A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “The council can confirm that Elland Road has been included in its list of Assets of Community Value following a nomination by the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust.
“As is standard procedure, the nomination was carefully assessed by the council according to criteria set out in the Localism Act 2011. When those criteria are met, as they were in this case, then the building or piece of land in question becomes an Asset of Community Value.”
Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Elland Road is part of the fabric of life in our city, so I’m delighted that it has once again been confirmed as an Asset of Community Value.
“As a season ticket holder, I know how much the ground means to all Leeds fans. It’s seen plenty of ups and downs over the years, but it is our home and long may it remain so.
“As a council, we are hugely proud of Leeds’s reputation as a top-class sporting city and the role that famous venues like Elland Road play in raising our national and international profile.”