Two libraries set for asset transfer, talks continue over five others
Two Wirral library buildings, that were the subject of bids from community groups for asset transfer, are now progressing to the next level of the process - while work will continue to try and find viable proposals for a further five libraries before the end of the year.
At their last meeting, members of the Tourism, Communities, Culture and Leisure Committee received an update on the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) process and approved a recommendation authorising the council to start negotiations for the transfer of Prenton and Pensby libraries to established community organisations.
They also accepted a recommendation for officers to continue to talk over the coming weeks to groups bidding to take over Wallasey Village, Irby, Woodchurch and Hoylake libraries, while a proposal from a local school for Higher Bebington will also be given until December 9th to demonstrate the viability of plans.
An update on bids for the Community Asset Transfer of Woodchurch Leisure Centre, Brackenwood golf course and Hoylake Municipal golf course will be provided at future committee meetings.
All the bids were subject to an independent assessment of business plans put forward by interested parties and amongst the issues they considered were how well a proposal fitted with the council’s CAT policy and how they aligned with council priorities, as well as carrying out due diligence on the organisations seeking a transfer, any property related matters, any legal requirements, financial implications and benefits to the community.
Pioneer People’s plans for Pensby library included a commitment to providing a range of community facilities, including a café. The assessment of their proposal was that this asset should progress to a transfer because of the community benefits it can deliver and the quality of the business plan. Pioneer People have undertaken a previous successful transfer of another Council asset in Pensby.
St. Stephen’s Church submitted a business plan to provide a range of community facilities in the building that had been home to Prenton library. It was recommended that this should also proceed to transfer based on the business plan and the community benefits. It was noted that the council do not own this building, but lease it from Magenta Living, so further discussions on that would be needed as part of the transfer negotiations.