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Policy to empower communities to take ownership of council assets approved

A new policy will help to unlock new community led projects, giving residents and groups the chance to take ownership of former council land or buildings and provide services the area wants to see.

Council crest

Article date: September 21st 2023

St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet has approved the Community Asset Transfer Policy, which gives community organisations the opportunity to design, deliver and manage services in their area where there is capacity and capability to do so. 

Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, said: "This policy is all about empowering our communities to take control of what they want to see in their area and giving them the tools to make that a reality. Our Borough Strategy sets out how we need to work together to transform lives and everyone has a role to play in that work, not just the council. As the way the council works changes there may be buildings or sites that are no longer required, and we recognise that our collective priorities may be better realised by handing these assets over to organisations to manage and flourish. 

"This will play a key part in addressing our priorities and supports our ambition to let communities become more independent, financially self-sufficient and take ownership of public buildings and land to run them for the benefit of their community." 

The new policy gives a framework for those wishing to apply to follow and how applications are assessed against the set criteria to make sure decisions are fair and equitable across communities. 

Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, added: "We are really proud of the longstanding close working relationship we have with the voluntary sector and the pandemic solidified the power collective community effort can have in making a difference. We've already successfully gone through the process of community asset transfer with the likes of Valley Brass Band and FC St Helens, who now deliver vital community services that benefit so many people and keep community assets open."

"This new policy underpins our ambition to enable communities to become more independent, financially self-sufficient and take ownership of public assets to run them in ways that are beneficial to the community. It will ensure there is a fair open and transparent approach, introducing a process that will result in a more effective and efficient service for all stakeholders."

The aim is to focus on up to four community asset transfers a year. 

To read the policy on our website visit here