Agenda item

Asset Management Strategy

To consider the attached report (C-003-2019/20)


That the Cabinet approved the Asset Management Strategy.



The Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder introduced the report on the asset management strategy. He noted that the proposed Asset Management Strategy (AMS) set out the rationale for existing and future asset management initiatives. The AMS would assist EFDC in achieving its corporate objectives as guided by the Council’s Core Principles and identified links with other key council strategies.


Councillor Philip stated that in relation to a local trading company and a local housing company, it was right to be looking at these as options, however we should be aware how unsuccessful other councils have been with these and that a risk assessment was needed before we took this forward. But in general, it was sensible to have an asset management strategy, we just needed a proper assessment of risk. The Commercial and Regulatory Portfolio Holder replied to say that a number of options will be coming forward and that a further report will be coming to the next Cabinet meeting.


Councillor Janet Whitehouse commented that there appeared to be no real focus in the report on social impact and the wellbeing on the community. There were a lot of small charities and volunteer groups who found it hard to find suitable and affordable premises. She would like the council to consider if they should offer help to the private sector by providing an information hub where charities and small businesses could come for information on affordable accommodation, or the council could provide a range of affordable accommodation. The Service Director, Commercial and Regulatory, replied that officers would always bring these sorts of things to members so that they could consider accommodating some organisations not covered by the general tenant of the strategy. Mr Pabani added that they often received requests from local charities and organisations and they did look for accommodation for them when they could. They had a long history of partnering up with local organisations and had found them accommodation in the past. Councillor C Whitbread commented that it was a good thing that we helped out like this and he also noted that we were very generous with our grants offered to local community-based projects.


Councillor Lion agreed that this strategy was the right thing to do in order to maximise our opportunities and Councillor Kane added that this was a good direction of travel for the council. He asked what the timeframe was to get the LHC up and running; and also we need to ensure that due consideration was given to the planning process, if we went down the housing company route. The Service Director, Commercial and Regulatory, replied that there would be a further report coming to the next cabinet meeting outlining the structure envisaged and the timelines.


Councillor Neville noted that the paperwork talked about the housing to be provided; what percentage would be affordable housing and of the six sites mentioned were some of them commercial sites in use or had any of them residential properties. The Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder replied that it was too early to discuss this at this stage and that he should wait for the next report. Councillor Philip added that the Council would be bound by its Local Plan in any case.




That the Cabinet approved the Asset Management Strategy.


Reasons for Proposed Decision:


At present, the council’s approach to its land and property assets is on a case by case basis or by reference to approaches taken in the past. These are not always fit for purpose in the current market and there exists no overall strategy which provides links to our Corporate Plan or Medium Term Financial Strategy. Adoption of an AMS will bring EFDC in line with other Local Authorities who have adopted similar strategies and will ensure EFDC is making the best use of its assets in a comprehensive, cohesive, economic and socially responsible way.


Adoption of the AMS will ensure the various Directorates in the council are approaching the acquisition and management of assets in a cohesive, complimentary and joined up way.



Other Options for Action:


This report addresses the absence of an AMS therefore the only options for action are to amend the proposed strategy in line with the wishes of Members or not to adopt the strategy at all.


Supporting documents: