Blears gives £1.3m to asset transfer advisory unit

The Development Trusts Association has been given £1.3m to administer a new asset transfer unit, which will advise community organisations on how to take over assets from local authorities.

Steve Wyler, director of the association, said he hoped the unit would be running by January. "It will provide practical advice and raise awareness across the whole of England, helping local communities take over underused or derelict land and buildings and achieve lasting public benefit," he said.

Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced the creation of the unit at this week's Development Trust Association conference.

Blears also separately announced the establishment of 12 ‘community kitties' pilot areas, where local community groups will be able to make Dragon's Den-style pitches for government cash to carry out their projects, with local people deciding which projects best suit their needs.

"These pilots and the new asset transfer unit will put more local people in the driving seat, giving them the knowledge and the experience to get involved, and will help bring devolution to the doorstep," said Blears.

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