This report is due to be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee scheduled to take place on Monday 5th September 2022. Any recommendations on this subject arising from that meeting will be tabled at the Executive Committee meeting for Members’ consideration.
The Principal Solicitor presented a report concerning a proposal for the community house at Easemore Road to be listed as an asset of community value. Members were asked to note that the Executive Committee was receiving the report on a consultative basis, although officers had delegated authority to determine whether a property should be listed as an asset of community value.
Members were advised that under the Localism Act 2011 there was a requirement for the Council to maintain a list of local assets of community value. The community could, as on this occasion, request that particular assets were added to the local list of assets of community value. On this occasion, as the community house at Easemore Road was owned by the Council, an independent barrister had been appointed to review the proposal. The Executive Committee had agreed at a meeting held on 12th July 2022 to dispose of the community house at Easemore Road. A request had subsequently been received for the property to be listed as an asset of community value. There was a statutory test for registering a property as an asset of community value, which had been taken into account by the independent barrister. The conclusions reached by the independent barrister had been recorded in his words at paragraph 4.4 in the report.
During consideration of this item, Members noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had pre-scrutinised the report at a meeting held on 5th September 2022. At the end of the Committee’s debate, Members had recommended that the Council should endorse option (b) in the report, which was to not support listing the community house at Easemore Road as an asset of community value.
The Executive Committee subsequently discussed the report in detail and in doing so commented on the following:
· The value of the services provided by the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) groups that currently rented space in the community house at Easemore Road. Members commented that it was these services, rather than the building itself, which were assets in the Borough.
· The potential for VCS organisations to rent space in other buildings located in the Borough.
· The opportunities available for VCS groups to continue to deliver services in the Borough should the community house at Easemore Road be sold.
· The extent to which the community house at Easemore Road had any historic features. Officers advised that they had not been made aware of any historical significance in respect of the community house at Easemore Road.
· The extent to which the community house at Easemore Road was accessible. Members suggested that more residents with physical disabilities would be able to access the services provided by the VCS groups currently renting space in the community house at Easemore Road should those groups relocate to alternative bases that were more accessible.
· The work that had been undertaken by the independent barrister with expertise in relevant legislation, who had concluded that the community house at Easemore Road should not be listed as ... view the full minutes text for item 43