Last month Pittington Village Hall Association agreed to a timetable for Asset Transfer with Durham County Council. The first stage was to commit to the process through a letter of intent which was also completed last month.
The next stage is to submit a five year business plan to show the Council that we can make the Village Hall an independent, sustainable organisation for the foreseeable future. The business plan needs to be completed by 17th January. Also by this date we need to have identified sources of funding for any necessary capital works, for example repairing the roof!
What is the Community Buildings Review?
In September last year the County Council began a consultation process aimed at determining the best way to manage the funding of their community buildings in the future. The consultation ran until December and the resulting report was published and agreed by the Council’s cabinet in February.
The Community Buildings Strategy is to target investment totalling £2.15 million to selected community buildings on condition that they undertake a process of asset transfer. Community buildings not selected for investment would also have the option of going down the asset transfer route but without any resulting investment. Community buildings that choose not to undertake asset transfer would face closure.
Well, certainly not yet, and hopefully not at all. What is happening is that Durham County Council are looking at more ways of reducing their costs and have started a consultation process on the future of the community buildings they support.
At the moment the county council take care of the building itself and the grounds while we pay for heating, lighting and costs involved in keeping the village hall running. The council’s favoured way forward is by way of an amended lease agreement, transfer all responsibility for repairs and upkeep to community organisations such as the village hall association.