Friday, October 21, 2016
Lancashire County Council is working hard to progress bids from community groups to take on responsibility for surplus buildings, and has now set a deadline for new bids to be considered.
Anyone who would like to make an expression of interest in buildings which the council has said it no longer needs following agreement of a new Property Strategy, has until Monday 31 October to do so.
The Property Strategy will reduce the number of buildings the council owns and rents, and form a network of multi-functional buildings known as Neighbourhood Centres, which will provide a base for a range of different services in one place.
As part of the consultation process for the strategy, held over three months this summer, there was an opportunity for community groups to submit expressions of interest in taking over the running of surplus properties.
All organisations who expressed an interest were provided with detailed property information, including running costs, and had until mid-August to supply a detailed business case to support what is called a community asset transfer.
The county council is now working with community groups to progress more than 30 business cases relating to surplus properties. Any new bids for buildings where a business case has already been submitted will have to demonstrate exceptional community benefit to be considered. The capital value of the building will also be considered when deciding whether community asset transfer is appropriate.
County Councillor David Borrow, deputy leader of the county council and portfolio holder for finance and property, said: "We're asking anyone who thinks they may want to run one of the buildings which the council no longer needs, for the benefit of their local community, to make contact with us by the end of October.
"The decisions we have made to reshape our services have been driven by the need to make huge savings, while ensuring that people continue to have good access to good services.
"We want to build on the obvious interest and good will from the community, but in order to deliver savings we need to consider the next steps for other surplus buildings, and draw a line under this first part of the process.
"In line with our community asset transfer policy, we need to ensure that proposals to take on these buildings are sustainable, and also that the business case adds up for the council and wider community in relation to these valuable assets."
If you are interested in the independent community library model and haven't already expressed an interest please get in touch with the county council by emailing the asset and service transfer team at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out more at Changes to where we provide services