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Community Asset Transfer

Published: 16/01/2015

The excellent response of Flintshire’s communities to Flintshire County Council’s community asset transfer scheme will be discussed at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (20 January). Cabinet Members will receive an update on the development of the scheme, which was re-launched at the beginning of November 2014. Public assets owned by the Council, and which are considered suitable for transfers, include playing fields, play areas, community centres, youth centres, allotments, sports grounds, pavilions, and libraries. Councils have the option to transfer buildings and land to community or charitable groups to run for the benefit of the community. Following the first deadline for expressions of interest, twenty proposals for over 40 assets have already been agreed to proceed to the next stage. The next stage is to produce a business case. This can only be made by a community group and is expected to take around six months. The final stage is then legal completion and transfer of the asset. Cabinet will hear that the level of interest from community groups continues to be high. As well as the formal expressions of interest, 47 informal enquiries have also been received, relating to 195 assets which cover 21 Town and Community Council areas. These have included a recent positive meeting with Connah’s Quay Town Council about the community assets in the town, including the swimming pool; this aspect alone created a considerable level of interest during the meeting. Flintshire Local Voluntary Council is co-ordinating the scheme and providing a tailored support package for organisations, through the FLVC staff team and by signposting them to specialist partner organisations. Cllr Aaron Shotton, Leader of the Council, said: “We have had a positive response from many of our communities. It is pleasing to know that, by engaging with our local communities, we are striving to find long term solutions which I hope will sustain our local services and assets and provide opportunities for regeneration and social enterprise.This is absolutely critical at a time of unprecedented national funding cuts to public services. Cllr Bernie Attridge, Deputy Leader, and the portfolio holder for the scheme, said: “We are delighted with the response from our local communities. We have always been clear that the initial expression of interest does not commit the applicant or the Council to a transfer but it allows a more detailed discussion, with the right support to help applicants. This is an ongoing process and organisations who still wish to express an interest are being encouraged to get in touch, as expressions of interest are considered on a monthly basis.” Panels will take place every three months to consider business case proposals. For further information contact Ian Bancroft or Neal Cockerton on 01352 704511.