Issue - meetings

Community Asset Transfer Policy

Meeting: 20/03/2023 - Executive (Item 106)

106 Community Asset Transfer Policy pdf icon PDF 80 KB

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The Executive approved the adoption of the Community Asset Transfer Policy, asset out in Appendix 1 to the report, incorporating the updated wording to page 7. subparagraph 6 as set out in the Supplementary Information Sheet.


·         The Council did not currently have a policy on the transfer of assets to community groups.

·         To deliver community objectives.

Other options considered and rejected by the Executive:

Do nothing – Do not adopt the policy. This would not address having a consistent decision-making process and community groups and Council officers would not have a clear procedure to follow if a group wished to submit an expression of interest

Details of any conflict of interest declared by the Leader or lead councillors and any dispensation granted:



The Council functioned as trustee for the land that it held on behalf of the community and presently had no Community Asset Transfer policy.  The purpose of a Community Asset Transfer policy was to set out a transparent and consistent approach to applications and a decision-making process governing the transfer of land to a Voluntary or Community Organisation (VCO). A policy in this regard would define which VCO’s were considered suitable for consideration by the Council for a Community Asset Transfer and the types of land, buildings and circumstances that may be considered when a Community Asset Transfer application was received.

The draft policy was reviewed by the Service Delivery Executive Advisory Board (EAB) on 09 March 2023 and a minor amendment and the comments arising from the meeting were set out in the Supplementary Information Sheet.

In the absence of the Lead Councillor for Assets and Property, the Deputy Leader of the Council introduced the report.

The Executive heard that the draft policy aligned with the policy guidance adopted by Waverley Borough Council. The draft policy had been reviewed by the Lead Councillor for Assets and Property, the Property Review Group, the Council’s policy team and EAB ward councillors. The Deputy Leader endorsed the draft policy as sound guidance for communities that set out a consistent framework for the Council.

Members of the Executive welcomed the draft policy but requested there should still be a less formal route for local people to follow when appropriate, for example where a regular request for use of a room in a property was made. Sutherland Memorial Hall was used as an example. This matter had been raised at the EAB meeting and members had been reassured that such circumstances fell outside of the draft policy guidance. In this particular instance the Council was working with Burpham Community Hub to arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement for use of the building. The draft policy guidance set out in the report was intended for long-term leasehold or freehold arrangements.

It was noted that communities expressing an interest in taking over responsibility for a property would need to attract significant funding which would not be available from the Council itself, but the draft policy did direct interested parties to ward members in the first instance who may wish to familiarise themselves with the specific property and any external funding opportunities.

Thereafter, the Executive,


The Executive approved the adoption of the Community Asset Transfer Policy, asset out in Appendix 1 to the report, incorporating the updated wording to page 7. subparagraph 6 as set out in the Supplementary Information Sheet.


1.     The Council did not currently have a policy on the transfer of assets to community groups.

2.     To deliver community objectives.

Meeting: 09/03/2023 - Community Executive Advisory Board (Item 70)

70 Community Asset Transfer Policy pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Additional documents:


The Service Delivery Executive Advisory Board (EAB) was invited to consider the Council’s Community Asset Transfer Policy together with a covering report, which were introduced and presented by the Asset and Property Manager.


The report explained that the Council currently did not have a policy outlining the approach and decision-making process governing applications for the transfer of freehold assets owned by, or under stewardship of, the Council that were deemed suitable for community asset transfer.  Accordingly, a new policy had been drafted to guide the process and ensure that a consistent approach was pursued by officers and councillors when considering applications for a community asset transfer by a voluntary or community organisation.  The Policy was attached at Appendix 1 to the report for deliberation by the EAB prior to its submission to the Executive for adoption.


Community asset transfer involved the transfer of assets to voluntary or community based organisations which were seeking Council land or buildings from which to deliver community based objectives.  In such circumstances, the Council would look to grant a lease or sell the freehold ownership of its land or buildings to such organisations to facilitate their purposes.


In terms of national and local policy, the majority of local authorities, including Waverley Borough Council, had a Community Asset Transfer Policy in place and the Policy being proposed for Guildford fell in line with that.


The EAB was advised that the Council could lease its assets to community organisations by means other than through the Community Asset Transfer Policy such as granting leases at less than best consideration or at commercial levels.  The Policy related to where the Council wished to divest itself in the long term of an asset to a community group to enable it to achieve its objectives.  The Policy set out the criteria under which it would consider an asset transfer to a community group.


The following points arose from ensuing questions, comments and discussion for forwarding to the Executive:


1.           The EAB welcomed and expressed its support for the Policy, which was considered to be clear, accessible and aligned with associated legislation, offering opportunities for local community groups to assume the operation of assets, possibly saving a building for community purposes which would otherwise be leased or sold commercially.  However, it was wished that the Government would simplify the legislation to render it more legible to local organisations.

2.           The principles behind the community asset transfer legislation and the related 2007 Quirk Review confirmed the Government’s wish for local authorities to facilitate the transfer of assets to community groups meeting the required criteria and to mitigate the risks associated with the process.

3.           Councillors acknowledged that some local communities or existing voluntary groups may experience difficulties with establishing the type of organisation that was required to operate a community asset following transfer unless they possessed the necessary level of expertise and funding.

4.           Although the Council could not offer direct financial assistance to local community groups wishing to pursue an asset transfer,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70