Locality calls for £1bn fund to protect public assets

8 Nov 16

Community action charity Locality has called for a £1bn fund to safeguard public buildings and spaces under threat of sale.

It said in a report Places and Spaces - The future of community asset ownership that budget cuts were increasingly forcing local authorities to sell buildings and spaces instead of transferring them for continued use by local residents.

Locality chief executive Tony Armstrong said such sales were “short sighted” and “put communities at risk of permanently losing important public buildings and spaces for the sake of a quick buck.  

“Transferring public assets to communities can safeguard them for generations to come,” he said.

Locality said the £1bn fund should comprise £500m from the Dormant Assets Commission, £200m from social investors, £125m each from central government and the Big Lottery Fund and £50m from other funders.

It would use 80% of its money for capital grants and finance, which Locality said was the equivalent of delivering one project per year in every English local authority, while 10% would be devoted to development planning and feasibility studies and the remainder to management and a national advice centre.

Armstrong said the problem of lost public facilities was particularly acute in less affluent areas, where people often lacked skills to negotiate taking facilities over and then running them.

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