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Community Asset Transfer

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Community Asset Transfer

The Council has adopted the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) – Policy and process to allow a consistently, transparent and easily communicated mechanism to support Community Asset Transfer. This section provides a summary of the rationale and process. A Community Asset Transfer Guide has been designed to provide in depth information regarding the process, timescales and considerations and is attached here for reference.
 

What is a Community Asset Transfer (CAT)?

The disposal of assets will usually be on a commercial basis to achieve best value. This process is set out at applying to purchase, lease or use Council owned land.  A Community Asset Transfer (CAT) can be used as an alternative to commercial disposal where the asset may have a community benefit. The management / ownership of the asset is passed on to a third non - public sector party, a community organisation.

A CAT is not a route to surplus asset disposal and cost saving, when undertaken, it should be used to bring benefits to communities through collaboration and release of assets for community use. It is about the Council working with communities to consider what assets might be suitable for transfer, with a view to protecting the asset for future community use, via a different management arrangement.

Who can apply?

It is envisaged that community organisations could be a community council, a third sector organisation or a properly constituted community group.

Potential uses to be considered?

Any decision regarding a potential CAT must be based on the continued use of the asset for the whole of the community and not a defined group of people for a specified purpose. The proposed use should therefore be as extensive as possible and should be focused on wider community well-being. Equality related issues, such as disabled access will be part of the consideration. If an associated service will be delivered from the asset, an evaluation of the ability of the community organisation to provide the service bilingually will be part of the assessment.

Assets for consideration

There is no list currently identifying potential CATs. The Council will take the decision in regard to offering an asset as a potential CAT and entering into any discussions with a community group. There is no requirement placed on the Council to follow a CAT route for disposal. For example, there will be circumstances where the asset identified for disposal has the potential to generate a significant capital receipt that would help sustain other services.

There are circumstances where we would not consider releasing assets for a community purpose, and some assets are specifically excluded from consideration. These are set out in the Community Asset Transfer Guide document.

An asset can be identified as a potential Community Asset Transfer via a number of routes, these are;

  • It may be that the Council identifies a potential building or area of land that may be suitable to offer as a CAT
  • A building may become surplus to operational requirements and the Council may seek to dispose of the asset. The Council may deem there is potential community value and invite expressions of interest. 
  • A community group may approach the Council and submit a speculative enquiry. 

Marketing

If we are already aware of a need to dispose of a certain asset, it is proposed that where a potential community benefit is identified, the Council will adopt a dual disposal process. An asset will be advertised / marketed on the Council website and through social media as a commercial opportunity. We will also invite expressions of interest (EOI) to gauge any potential community interest.

If any EOI’s are submitted with a community purpose, the commercial disposal route will be placed on hold until the EOI  has been considered.

Any speculative enquiry will be considered and may involve consultation with other service areas to determine whether or not we wish to dispose of the asset. We are under no obligation to transfer a property, however, we will always consider an application.

Decision Making

Our decision will be based on a number of factors and we will advise you in writing of the outcome. If we do not wish to dispose of the property we will tell you why: If we are willing to consider a CAT, we will begin the process with you.

We may also need to advertise and invite offers / expressions of interest applications from other parties as part of the process.

Costs

In submitting an application you should bear in mind that there will be a number of costs for which you would be responsible in addition to an an annual rental if your application is successful. These are usually payable at approval stage.

  • If the area is public open space, we will need to advertise an intention to sell or lease in the local press for 2 consecutive weeks (currently, a £650 non-refundable contribution must be made prior to our submitting the advert). If objections are received, we would consider them on their merits, before a decision to lease is made.
  • You may require a change of use planning consent (currently, the application fee is £380). Any application would be considered on its merits by the planning department, you may wish to contact our planning department in advance of submitting an application.
  • You may need a solicitor yourself which will incur additional costs
  • There may be other costs in connection with the application these will depend on the complexity of the disposal and work required. These costs would be outlined in any terms that are to be agreed as part of the disposal.

Valuation

CAT usually involves a transfer at less than market value. However, a business case must show that community benefits justify the disposal at less than a market price.

The application

The application process and timescales are set out in the Community Asset Transfer Guide. We use a two-stage approach which ensures valuable resources are not spent on developing and assessing a full business case until basic consideration criteria are met.

Pre-application discussion is encouraged to discuss options and scope.

It is recognised that the approach to progress a CAT may be different for each asset under consideration. The policy sets out a robust but flexible staged process with opportunities for informal discussions at the outset and along the way. The timeline for a CAT will vary and will be dependent upon the asset, the ability of the community organisation to provide the required assurances and the ability of the Council to prepare an asset for CAT and make all relevant decisions.

Next Steps

If you would like an informal discussion regarding a particular asset please contact property@caerphilly.gov.uk 

If you would like to view the council’s available portfolio please visit the property availability page.

If you are interested to making speculative enquiry on a particular area of land or building please complete the online expression of interest form. You will be required to upload a plan identifying the asset.

Useful references / guidance

Community Asset Transfer Guide
Community Ownership Fund Information Pack
EOI form (PDF)
EOI form (word)

If you would like to view the council’s available portfolio please visit the property availability page