The report of the Executive Manager – Transformation is attached.
The Portfolio Holder for Business and Economic Growth presented the report of the Executive Manager – Transformation, which detailed how the Council would manage its assets over the next five years. The Portfolio Holder noted that the Council owned a variety of assets, which included community assets such as community centres, parks and open space serving the residents of the Borough, through to commercial and investment property, providing income to the Council and accommodation for local businesses. The Asset Management Strategy would assist the Council to ensure that properties were fit for purpose; set out efficient management strategies, to use land and buildings to stimulate regeneration, growth and improvement to the local place; encourage new business to the area; and also aligned the management of the asset portfolio across the organisation, considering individual service needs and strategies, ensuring a holistic and comprehensive ‘one Council’ approach. The Portfolio Holder advised that the Asset Management Plan set out how the above would be delivered and was embedded within the Asset Management Strategy. The Strategy would be a living document with on-going activities and projects that would be aligned to the Council’s priorities.
The Portfolio Holder was pleased to note that the Council’s assets provided great value for the wellbeing of its residents as well as providing a financial income for the Council and noted that amendments to the strategy had been made to emphasise this.
The report was moved by Councillor Upton and seconded by Councillor Moore who reserved the right to speak.
Councillor Gaunt thanked officers for producing such a comprehensive document, including a sensible and responsible strategy, which provided good returns for residents. The Asset Management Plan would ensure that rental income for the Council would stay within local communities, and thereby increase wealth locally. Councillor Gaunt was pleased to note that the Council was supporting local businesses by providing stability and good value for money and he considered that the Council should promote the strategy to parish councils, as they too could acquire assets through the ‘general powers of competence’ which was introduced by the Localism Act (2011).
Councillor Gaunt believed that the asset challenge process, in which an asset could be re-purposed or disposed of if it was not performing effectively and efficiently should be thoroughly scrutinised, with public consultation, before a decision was made regarding a community asset, as it was important that community owned investments should be maintained for future generations.
Councillor Jones was pleased to note the amendments that had been made to the Strategy and agreed that the priorities of the Council were important. He stated that the Council’s assets should increase resident’s quality of life through the community facilities that they could access, including green spaces. Councillor Jones hoped that community owned facilities such as allotments would increase for new residents to use, as many now lived in accommodation with smaller gardens.
Councillor R Mallender supported the Asset Management Strategy and explained that the Council held a wide range of assets from a temporary accommodation lodge to community halls, which were publically owned for the benefit of its residents. He noted the importance of ensuring that these investments were well maintained and looked after wisely for future generations. Councillor R Mallender was pleased to note that the Carbon Reduction Management Plan formed an integral part in the management of the Council’s assets.
Councillor Thomas thanked the officers for their hard work in producing the Asset Management Strategy and for making amendments to the Strategy prior to the meeting; however, she was concerned that the Strategy was too focused on managing assets for financial gain rather than for social and economic benefits for residents and protecting the environment. Councillor Thomas also noted the Council’s commitment to investing within the Borough and hoped that there would be no additional investments outside of the Borough, as the benefits for local residents would be minimal. Councillor Thomas also raised concerns about the asset challenge process and hoped that there would be greater emphasis on public consultation and opinion.
The Portfolio Holder stated that the Council was proud of its record of investing in the Borough and referred to the renovation of Bridgford Hall and the regeneration of Cotgrave Town Centre, in which residents had benefitted from new community facilities.
It was RESOLVED that the Asset Management Strategy and associated Asset Management Plan be adopted.