Community Asset Transfer progress agreed for third sector organisations

Three Community Asset Transfers (CAT) were given the green light to progress at today’s meeting of the Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee.

Community Asset Transfers allow community groups and organisations to take over a current or surplus Council asset/property, under the Community Empowerment Act, 2015. The Council has a CAT Strategy in place and many organisations have benefitted from utilising the CAT process since the strategy was introduced five years ago.

First up for discussion was Alive Community Radio SCIO, which is looking to take over the ownership of Lochside Enterprise Workshops, in Lochside, Dumfries. The brick-built construction consists of half a dozen workshops with office space, toilets and a car park.

It was built in the 1980s for new or micro businesses. It has had no commercial tenants for a number of years and has been occupied by Alive Radio for a couple of years, during which time Alive has improved the building to the tune of around £75,000 of its own money.

Elected Members scrutinised Alive’s business plan at today’s meeting and agreed to progress the transfer of the building from the Council to Alive, for a fee of £1.

Lockerbie Squash and Racketball Club was next on the agenda. Members discussed the 11,500 square metre site on the outskirts of Lockerbie and agreed to progress with the CAT, for the fee of £1 payable to the Council.

The club is located on alienable Common Good land on Glasgow Road in Lockerbie. Members agreed that the social value of having an all-year-round sports facility situated close to Lockerbie Academy and Lockerbie Ice Rink was of great community benefit and were impressed by the Club’s drive to become greener and more sustainable.

The final CAT discussed was Tundergarth Kirk’s transfer request to take over the Tundergarth Memorial Room, located within Tundergarth Cemetery, less than three miles from the town of Lockerbie.

The room is dedicated to the victims of the Lockerbie Air Disaster and is used as a contemplative space for friends and families as well as visitors. As well as the memorial room, Members also agreed to sign the Auld Kirk Ruin over under the CAT. Both the memorial room and the ruin will be transferred to Tundergarth Kirk for the nominal fee of £1.

Chair of the Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee, Cllr Carolyne Wilson said of the transfers: “I’m delighted the committee has agreed to progress these transfers today. Our Council is committed to empowering communities and in agreeing these asset transfers, we are doing just that. All three organisations presented strong business cases and demonstrated their drive and commitment to using the properties for the benefit of local communities.”

Vice Chair, Cllr Dougie Campbell commented: “For the last five years this Council has had a robust community asset transfer in place and today’s agreed reports are a real sign of how effective this strategy is. I was particularly impressed with Lockerbie Squash and Racketball Club considering environmental sustainability as part of their business plan. It’s vital that more businesses do this moving forward.”

Papers for the meeting can be viewed HERE.