Croydon's Local Strategic Partnership believes that community organisations should be encouraged to take on the management and ownership of surplus community assets (such as buildings and open spaces) from statutory organisations, such as Croydon Council and the national health service.
Council assets available for transfer
We will decide which council assets are surplus on a case by case basis, assessing both their social and capital value.
We currently lease about 50 buildings and plots of land to voluntary and community organisations. Most are on short to medium term leases with shared responsibility for repairs and maintenance. Where premises are leased to organisations funded by the council to provide services, they will not be available for transfer unless there is clearly a wider community benefit. However, we will consider other leased premises for transfer.
We will consider consortium bids from leaseholders, or on behalf of the leaseholders, of a number of buildings which may be managed jointly.
Terms of asset transfer
An asset may be transferred by passing the freehold to a community organisation or by granting them a long lease (over 25 years).
- We prefer to grant long leases. Long term lessees will have access to assets which would not be available to lessees with short or medium term leases. However, they will have to take on full responsibility for repairs and maintenance and the rent would reflect the market value of the premises. We would not automatically provide grant aid to meet this cost. However, we may decide to give grant aid towards rent as part of a wider funding package to the organisation.
- We will only transfer freehold at a discount on the market where there is a clear business case. This must demonstrate that the social value of the transfer outweighs the loss of capital receipt to the council.
How to apply
When assets are put forward for transfer, we will provide information about these assets and an application form that can be downloaded on these web pages. Community organisations will need to prove that they are capable of managing transferred assets. They will have to demonstrate that they
- will be able to maintain the asset adequately.
- have the appropriate skills, knowledge and expertise to sustain the project in the long term.
- have an adequate constitution, with governance arrangements and management controls in place.
- can meet all relevant equality, safeguarding, health and safety, planning and licensing.
- can show local need and community support from more than one interest group.
- will use the asset to benefit the community in line with key objectives in Croydon's Community Strategy 2013-18.
- can monitor and evaluate the project outcomes.
General guidance notes and expression of interest forms can be downloaded below.
Evaluation of proposals
We will consider both the benefits to the local community and the ability of the organisation to sustain the use of the asset over the leased period. A detailed assessment of risk will be an important part of the evaluation.
Many organisations have the potential to manage premises effectively, but do not meet the full criteria for asset transfer. Croydon Voluntary Action will be able to provide capacity building for these organisations, including:
- a skills audit
- a capacity building plan agreed on point of transfer
- visible standards (or equivalent good practice standards)
- PQASSO or equivalent quality assurance
- providing access to expert advice on finance and resources (commercial loans, lottery funding, Future Builders and community anchor funding etc).
In addition, Croydon Council may be able to provide interest free loans of up to £100,000, subject to funds being available.
Previous asset transfers
The following assets have either been transferred to community ownership or are in the process of being so:
- Stanley Peoples Initiative will be managing Stanley Halls.
- Croydon Jubilee Church is now managing Selsdon Community Hall
- Croydon Community First will be taking over the management of Selhurst AstroTurf pitch.