Issue - meetings


Meeting: 16/06/2015 - Cabinet (Item 24)



As detailed in the recommendations.


The Chief Officer (Organisational Change) provided an update on progress of Community Asset Transfers (CATs).  Agreement was sought for the mechanism and thresholds for providing funding support to organisations to assist in their delivery of CATs.


Local Authorities had discretion to dispose of surplus property at less than best condition subject to Member approval.  This allowed for the consideration of bids from Community and Voluntary Groups for Council owned property.


The public assets owned by the Council were one of its major strengths.  However, the Council must balance the requirement to dispose of surplus or underutilised assets to provide funding for the capital programme with the need to regenerate local communities and encourage social enterprise through the alternative use of its building and land assets.  Asset categories that were appropriate for the CAT were outlined the in the report.


The Council recognised that community ownership could play a part in enhancing the local environment and providing opportunities for all sectors of the community and CATS could help to promote public value.


Since the launch of the refreshed CAT process a number of meetings had taken place with Town and Community Councils and other interested groups to explain the three stage process.  As at the end of May the following expressions of interest had been processed:

-       Number of assets on the CAT list = 403;

-       Number of enquiries = 255;

-       Expressions of interest received = 65; and

-       Moving through to a stage 2 panel = 5.


The intention was to transfer assets on a 27 year lease to the local community with the County Council retaining the freehold interest in the asset.  Responsibility for all costs i.e. revenue, running costs, repair and maintenance and any capital costs would pass over to the community group.  The asset would be transferred at a peppercorn rent, usually £1.00.


Should the assets be leased out on finance leases, the assets would not be on the Council’s balance sheet and the funding given to the community group would not qualify for inclusion in the capital programme.


The overall intention was to create increased community ownership and responsibility for the assets within its location and protect assets in ways which the Council could no longer afford to do.  However, such activity would have a positive impact on revenue as it would reduce its ongoing maintenance burden for a number of years.


Details on the asset type and suggested funding allocations were outlined in the report.


In progressing a CAT the Council would encourage organisations to work together to develop one business model for the asset transfer of the site or building, however, if that could not be achieved then the CAT scheme would consider separate business models.  In normal circumstances a priority would be given to an organisation who was the current or most recent leaseholder.


The Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance said it was imperative that communities were supported through any CAT process and asked if the report would be submitted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24