Planning a take over?

New guidance about the way communities can take over the running and responsibility of surplus council-owned properties is being considered by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Over the past five years the council has had a programme of transferring community-based assets and services to voluntary groups such as  Alexandra Bowls Club, S&D Heritage Railway and most recently Saltford Library.

Now a new policy is proposing to strengthen the support communities get when they take responsibility for a property and is currently being consulted on.

Under the proposal the council would operate a four-stage process including assessment of the asset, expression of interest, business plan and completion, in order to ensure organisations have good governance in place as well as the financial capability to manage an asset.

Councillor Charles Gerrish, cabinet member for Finance and Efficiency, said: “Community Asset Transfer is the transfer of land, buildings or structures owned by a public body to community or voluntary groups or social enterprises. That group or organisation then becomes responsible for running, managing, and maintaining it, including all the associated costs.

“Transferring an asset to the community, creates opportunities for us to work with the community  to explore innovative ways of providing community-based services and help us make the best of the facilities owned by the council

“Here in Bath and North East Somerset we think there are properties which could be successfully managed and run by the organisations, who use them, which is why we are asking people to take part in the consultation and share their views on this proposed policy.”

The document will be considered by the CTE Scrutiny Panel on the 21st January.  The consultation on the Community Asset Transfer Policy and Guidance runs until January 25 and details can be found here: https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/consultations/draft-community-asset-transfer-policy-and-guidance

Feedback from the consultation will be reviewed and summarised and changes to the draft policy will be made where appropriate.  The results of the consultation along with the updated policy and guidance will be presented to Cabinet on the 6th February 2019.