To consider the report of the Corporate
Director Regeneration and Community Services
Consideration was given to report of the Corporate Director Regeneration & Community Services.
The Corporate Director presented the report which sought Members’ views on the proposals identified as part of the review of the Council’s property and land holdings. The review included all Council owned properties and land, and all property used by the Council on a lease/rental basis. He confirmed that the industrial property portfolio would be covered in a separate review.
A Member referred to Table 2 on page 33 of the report and questioned the figure relating to Anvil Court. He also expressed concern regarding the amount of money being spent on the building.
The Corporate Director confirmed that the figure should be amended to read £218,947. In terms of the money being spent he explained that the Council leased the building, and also had an annual maintenance programme in place in order to mitigate any maintenance costs being incurred on completion of the lease.
A brief discussion ensued when the Corporate Director clarified points raised by Members in relation to Anvil Court and Church Street, Ebbw Vale. He confirmed that relevant discussions were taking place in terms of options and future delivery of Council services.
The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Proposals 1 – 7 be supported (Option 1), namely:
· Proposal 1 – To dispose of all non-operational buildings currently being held by the Council having regard to any grant clawback or legal obligations that may be in place which may affect its saleability. This could secure capital receipts as well as providing savings to the corporate land budget in holding costs as well as reducing/avoid rates on the premises (short term).
· Proposal 2 – To ensure the rates paid by the Council are minimised by reviewing the accuracy of current rates payments, and the rating of property in the Council’s portfolio and to introduce a systematic approach to regularly review the rates paid on Council premises. The Council are currently securing specialist advice in this area in order to manage its rates position more efficiently.
· Proposal 3 – To review the Council’s occupation of properties held on a leasehold basis to establish whether there are any opportunities to reduce payments to landlords. The Council are currently securing specialist advice in this area (short to medium term).
· Proposal 4 – To develop a proposal for 21st Century Civic Centre/office facility for Council staff in line with best practice space utilisation. This could be based around a single or two site solution and involve partners (medium term).
· Proposal 5 – To increase the income derived for land and other assets. All of the Council’s land holdings need to be assessed to identify why land is being held, and the values to the Council in terms of income streams through a series of area reviews. This is an opportunity to not just potentially increase income but to divest the Council of land that may have long term maintenance liabilities (medium term).
· Proposal 6 – To utilise capital receipts received from the disposals to crease an investment fund for use in bringing residential sites forward and other income generating opportunities.
· Proposal 7 – To secure the energy savings delivered by the ReFit investment in the Council’s estate.