Local councils in England predict increase in asset transfers

Community centres, phone boxes and cemeteries are among those now under control of community organisations

Transfers of assets, including office blocks, are expected to rise
Transfers of assets, including office blocks, are expected to rise

Almost half of local authorities in England that responded to a recent survey expect the transfer of assets to community organisations to increase in the coming year.

The survey of councils, Car Parks and Castles: Giving Communities the Keys, says that about 1,000 asset transfers are already under way.

Of the 32 per cent of English councils that responded, 49 per cent said they expected the number of asset transfers to increase. The same proportion said a major reason for the increase was to save councils money.

The report by the research firm SQW was commissioned by the Asset Transfer Unit, which is hosted by the community group umbrella body Locality and supports local authorities and community groups involved in asset transfer, in order to assess its own effectiveness.

It says that the majority of assets that have already been transferred are in deprived areas. Transfers are also more common in urban than in rural areas.

Assets transferred include community centres, parks, village halls, schools, offices, boathouses, castles, cemeteries and phone boxes.

Most respondents say they are happy with the ATU, which the report says should continue with its current level of funding and develop more specialist skills to cope with rising demand.

It warns that it is important to make sure that transferred assets are useful and sustainable, and that the transfer process is not "over-hasty".

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