Meeting with Councillors to discuss a community bid / the ACV process / Community Asset Transfer

We met at HTH at  9:30 on Thursday 20th August 2015.


Community: Amanda Carrara, Chris Currer, David Winskill, Adrian Essex

Councillors: Alan Strickland, Jason Arthur

Council consultants: Jo Pickering (Sharpe Pritchard), Saheeda Parveen (property services)

DW relentlessly pursued the three major points of the meeting as below:
1) OJEU robs the community of its opportunity to have a 6 month moratorium. CC reinforced this point – “we want our 6 months back”.
2) the proposed umbrella organisation will be very difficult for the community to pursue, especially without the time to prepare
3) we were promised last week of details on why Community Asset Transfer was rejected and where this is documented in the trail of cabinet documents. We very much prefer the option of CAT with 1) the car park and 2) the Hall offered as separate parcels. We regret the misinterpretation of the current planning permission and the inaccurate references to English Heritage being used as barriers to a CAT. Our understanding of the situation leaves the CAT possibility open.
The responses were:
1) the ACV and OJEU processes run in parallel – get on with it. Action SP undertook to explore whether the notice to dispose can be withdrawn and re-issued at the same time as the OJEU papers.
2) JP claimed knowledge of instances where the umbrella/developer alliance has worked very well. She undertook to explore whether telling us about them would infringe OJEU confidentiality. We expressed a very strong wish to have examples. Action JP to let us know of examples if permissible.
3)  we were again promised of details on why community asset transfer was rejected and where this is documented in the trail of cabinet documents – action SP by early next week
Other points that arose:
JA suggested we are being cynical about the process, where he is optimistic.
AS cited the LBH consultation process as validation of the cabinet approach. We are cynical about the consultation process.
AE suggested that the GVA document was flawed for it lack of options, and its concentration on failed models rather than exploring the current situation.
JA/AS said that the cabinet has taken its decision and that this will not be overturned unless we (the community) can demonstrate very substantial benefit from an alternative approach.
DW re-iterated that a Community Asset Transfer has worked very well in many other councils around the country and that it is still our preferred approach.
There is a potential conflict for the community being both a bidder and a partner in a consortium.

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