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Taking ownership of a council building and/or the running of a service

During public consultation on the Property Strategy the council agreed to explore proposals by community groups and other organisations to take on responsibility for running some of the affected buildings and services.

Thank you to everyone who submitted an expression of interest and subsequent business case regarding the possibility of taking on responsibility for a building and/or service.

We received over 60 business cases and have made a number of decisions in principle about a variety of buildings.

The proposals have been considered according to the council's Community and Asset Transfer (CAT) policy, which provides criteria for the council to consider when transferring into community ownership, assets which could improve people's economic, social, or environmental wellbeing.

The decision to agree in principle a number of CATs has taken into account factors including funds which the council could potentially have raised from selling the buildings and whether community groups have the capacity, governance and financial resources to make a success of their proposals and sustain them long term.

All of the proposals are subject to further discussion and final agreement on the terms of the transfer. You can see a summary of the decisions in principle made so far in the table below.

Some decisions have been changed in the light of the Cabinet's decision to reopen libraries which closed last year, wherever possible. A number of community groups which had submitted plans for the buildings have indicated that they would prefer the county council to run a library service rather than progress with an asset transfer. However, progress is being made to establish independently community-run libraries at, Crawshawbooth, Penwortham (in the former young people's centre), Upholland and Trawden.

The following libraries originally under consideration for CAT are remaining open:

  • Ansdell library
  • Adlington library. The Friends of Adlington Library has decided to withdraw its application for an asset transfer. The Cabinet formally decided on 14 September that the county council will continue to run the library when current arrangements, which see Chorley Borough Council fund the library, end in March 2018. The county council will continue to work with the Friends of Adlington Library as they carry on with their efforts to maximise the use of the library in the future.
  • Coppull library. The county council will continue to run the library when current arrangements, which see Chorley Borough Council fund the library, end in March 2018.
  • Eccleston library. The county council will continue to run the library when current arrangements, which see Chorley Borough Council fund the library, end in March 2018.
  • Kirkham library

The following libraries originally under consideration for CAT have reopened:

The following libraries originally under consideration for CAT will reopen:

  • Bamber Bridge library
  • Cleveleys library
  • Pike Hill library

Further decisions have been made about community asset transfers:

  • Upholland library
  • On 11 October, Cabinet agreed to a community asset transfer, handing over the ownership of the former Upholland library in West Lancashire to Artz for All, a community interest company which provides creative opportunities and services to people, schools and organisations across the district.
    Artz for All intends to turn the building into an arts centre, providing opportunities for young people to take part in activities such as drama, music, dance and photography, as well as providing space for wider community activities where possible.
    The organisation will also establish an independent community-run library.
  • Crawshawbooth Library and Community Centre 
    On 7 December, the cabinet agreed to complete the transfer of Crawshawbooth Library and Community Centre in Rossendale to the Crawshawbooth Community Association after an earlier decision to agree their asset transfer application in principle. The group has managed the community centre on a day to day basis for the last six years, and provides a base, facilities, and support for a wide range of community activities including a pre-school and out of school club. The community association is proposing to provide an independent community-run library and expand its current activities.
  • Whitewell Bottom Community Centre 
    On 7 December, the cabinet agreed to complete the transfer of Whitewell Bottom Community Centre in Rossendale to Whitewell Bottom Community Association after a community asset transfer application had previously been agreed in principle. The building was designed as a youth and community centre, and the trustees have been responsible for its day to day management since the young people's service ceased delivery from the building a number of years ago. The community association is proposing to offer a range of community activities, expanding on its current offer, as well as allow it's continued used by Whitewell Bottom Pre-School.
  • Brunshaw Young People's Centre
    On 7 December, the cabinet agreed in principle the asset transfer of Brunshaw Young People's Centre in Burnley. The group is proposing to move its current service, Charter House Activity Centre, into the young people's centre to continue providing a range of services. These include day care for people with learning disabilities, sensory room sessions for people with complex needs, baby groups and local college workshops.

Other decisions made in principle below are being reconsidered.

Decisions in principle

Date Building Decision
13 September  2018 Thornton young people's centre The former Thornton youth and community centre has been transferred to Wyre District Scouts Council (WDSC) to use as a headquarters delivering Scouts, Cubs and Beavers sessions, interviewing and training new staff, youth competitions, community work and fund raising. Their proposal is also to develop the building for community use throughout the day by local groups including sports clubs, mothers and toddlers groups, and health clubs.
6 April 2017 Ribble Valley adult disability day centre in Clitheroe and West Lancashire Children and Parenting Service Decisions have been taken to decline applications for CAT relating to these buildings which the county council no longer needs.
9 March 2017 Belmont community centre Belmont community centre will be transferred to Belmont Community Association. Belmont Community Association has been the management committee of Belmont Community Centre for 35 years. The community centre is currently used by in excess of 100 people on a weekly basis and provides a range of activities to address social isolation and deprivation including health education, community learning, volunteering opportunities and dancing. The proposal submitted by Belmont Community Association will look to encourage use of the centre by new organisations and groups and seek opportunities to ensure the community centre is sustainable into the future.
9 March 2017 Burscough Bridge Interchange The former Burscough Bridge Interchange will be transferred to a charitable trust established by Burscough Parish Council , working with partner organisations. Transport links will remain, but the Trust will be looking to develop community owned managed workspace and be a catalyst for community development, providing outreach through nurturing and supporting smaller community initiatives, as well as providing a home for visiting projects. Ownership and lease arrangements are quite complex on the site and the proposal submitted is on the basis that favourable agreements with various third parties can be reached.
9 March 2017 Heysham young people's centre and children's centre and Clayton Brook children's centre Decisions have been taken to decline applications for CAT relating to these  buildings which the county council no longer needs. Heysham Youth and Community Centre Playgroup will continue to deliver services from Heysham Young People's Centre and Children's Centre. Clayton Brook Children's Centre will be offered to the school on whose site it is based.
23 January 2017 Penwortham library The building will be transferred to Penwortham Town Council to establish a new community theatre. The new 'Penwortham Library Theatre' will become a hub for many local arts and voluntary community groups. There will be a town information desk and a small museum of Penwortham town artefacts.
23 January 2017 Penwortham young people's centre The building will be transferred to Penwortham Town Council to establish a new independent community-run library. It will also become a community hub for clubs such as dance, youth, theatre, parent and toddler and church groups. It is also planned to offer community services and advice. 
23 January 2017 Padiham young people's centre, Rosegrove library. Applications for CAT for these buildings which the county council no longer needs have either been withdrawn or declined. The decision has been taken to declare the buildings surplus to the county council's requirements.
8 December 2016 Clayton-le-Moors library It has been agreed that an independent community library can be established by Mercer 1842 at the Arthur Wilson Centre, Hyndburn, using the book stock and resources from the former Clayton-le-Moors library. The Arthur Wilson Centre is not a county council building.
7 December 2016 Trawden library and children's centre The building will be transferred to Trustees of Trawden Forest Community Centre to provide a range of services and facilities within the village including an independent community library, a volunteer-led community co-operative shop and a post office. The proposal will benefit the wider community including older residents, people with disabilities and young families, with an emphasis on reducing social isolation and promoting digital inclusion
7 December 2016 Stoops and Hargher Clough community centre The building will be transferred to West End (Burnley) Community Interest Company following a bid focused on using the building as a community hub to continue to provide a range of activities for people of all ages, tackling issues such as unemployment, ill-health, and low educational attainment.
7 December 2016 Earby library Decisions have been taken to decline applications for a CAT relating this building.
6 October 2016  Various The business cases we received within the initial deadline of 12 August 2016 were initially assessed and the resulting recommendations were considered at our cabinet meeting on 6 October.

In summary:

  • 13 proposals were considered to be broadly acceptable subject to negotiation and clarification of issues
  • 20 bids required more details to be provided before a clear recommendation could be made
  • 16 proposals were not considered to be acceptable.

Two further amendments were also agreed. The bids for Heysham Children's and Young People's Centre (Heysham Youth and Community) and Great Harwood Young People's Service (Hyndburn Leisure Trust) have been moved from not being considered to be acceptable to requiring more details to be provided before a clear recommendation can be made. This is because they have been confirmed as charitable bodies and qualify as appropriate community organisations.

See the Cabinet papers to find out more about the interest we have received so far.

Independent community-run libraries

Where communities want to run their own library, we've offered a package of support to help them become established. This would include giving them a one-off payment of £5,000 to provide public internet access and cover set-up costs and providing shelving and an initial supply of books. A community library manager has been appointed to offer advice and guidance, including having an appropriate constitution, gaining charitable status, fund raising, setting milestones, stock management and training volunteers. The post is for a fixed term of two years.