Agenda item

Community Assets update

Report by the Chief Operating Officer.


33.1     The Assistant Director Property introduced the report which provides an update on how the Council’s assets have been used for community asset transfer by community and voluntary groups. The report also contained suggestions for revising the guidance on the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) policy for consideration by the Committee.


33.2     The Committee considered the report and made a number of comments and suggestions. A summary of the discussion and the points raised is given below.


Information on running costs

33.3     The Committee thanked officers for a good report which outlined how council owned properties and assets can be transferred to or leased by community groups. The Committee asked how community groups could find out about the running costs of a property that they may be interested in. The Assistant Director Property outlined that under the proposal in paragraph 2.18 d) of the report there will be a checklist provided to community groups listing the things that they may consider, including considerations like running costs. If at that stage the community group would like more information on things like utility costs, rent, insurance etc. this can be provided to them. Also, under the proposal in paragraph 2.18 h) there would be a named contact in the Property Services Team who they could contact for information or to answer questions they may have about a particular property, including whether it is surplus or in operational use. It was clarified that responses to requests would be given within a reasonable timescale.


Local Government Act requirements and evaluation

33.4     The Committee observed that the Local Government Act General Disposal Consent Order 2003 requirements as set out in paragraph 2.9 of the report are an important principle and that this should be given prominence in the web site information. These requirements should also be included in the website information proposed in paragraph 2.18 a) and need to be made clear in the asset disposal process. It would also be really helpful for community organisations to understand the evaluation process the Lead Member has to go through when considering these requirements for asset disposals and longer leases.


33.5     The Assistant Director Property responded that this was a helpful point on the Local Government Act requirements and acknowledged that it would be useful for information on the requirements to be provided to community organisations. Lead Member reports for asset disposals and leases over seven years in length, do set out this information and will provide information on commercial offers and the other wider economic, social and well-being benefits for the Lead Member to consider. In terms of the evaluation process, recent Lead Member reports have included a matrix of evaluation criteria.


Community Asset Transfer (CAT) Policy

33.6     The Committee asked how the existing CAT policy would be streamlined and combined with the proposals for improvements. Committee members noted that they would not want to see the existing policy document reduced too far. The Assistant Director Property outlined that the idea was to revise the CAT policy by including a process map and information on the next steps in the process.


33.7     The Committee RESOLVED to:

1) Note the update report;

2) Agree the suggestions outlined in paragraph 2.18 of the report to provide greater awareness of community asset opportunities; and

3) Suggest that a decision making matrix is included in the information for community organisations on the Local Government Act considerations for disposals.



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