Councillor J. McIlroy
To consider the Community Letting Policy (formerly Community Asset Policy).
Cabinet considered a report the Community Lettings Policy (formerly known as the Community Asset Policy).
Cabinet noted that the policy was new and that historically requests from organisations to lease surplus Council assets had been dealt with in a variety of ways.
Cabinet agreed that the new policy provided a more joined up approach, especially when considering whether surplus assets should be offered to community organisations, who provide such valuable services to residents, and will ensure there is close liaison between the assets and community wellbeing teams.
Cabinet further noted that officers had considered the request made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee regarding what assistance could be given to smaller fledgling organisations and acknowledged that the Community Lettings Policy would apply to organisations looking to take a lease of 5 years or more but for those starting up, and looking at a lesser period of time, a licence would be considered which would allow them to build up their service offer and demonstrate that they have a sustainable business model, which would put them in a much stronger position to be able to take on a lease of a building or piece of land in future.
Alternative options considered and rejected by the Cabinet:
To continue to deal with requests from organisations in an ad hoc fashion as and when they come forward. This would not necessarily expose the opportunity to everyone within the wider community, there was also a risk that the Council may not achieve best value for money. Continuing this approach would not maximise openness and transparency and runs the risk of potential challenge.
1) approve the Community Letting Policy attached at Appendix 1 and the Stage 1 Further Information Form, Stage 1 Matrix Scoring Form, Exceptional Circumstances Form and Flow Chart;
2) approve the list of properties/sites to which the Community Letting Policy applies;
3) approve the named roles of the Councillors who will make the final decision (as per paragraph 1.17 of the report).
Reasons for decision:
The Council regularly has calls for the use of its assets by a range of organisations and community groups. It is critical that the Council advertises any opportunities which come up for the assets that it owns and assess them in an open and transparent way. This policy sets out how the Council will achieve this.