Can local authorities transfer library buildings to community organisations free of charge?

Anton Schultz wrote...

Can local authorities transfer library buildings to community organisations free of charge?

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Anton Schultz wrote...

Local authorities are able to transfer their land and buildings to community organisations at 'less than best consideration', i.e. below market value. There are numerous examples of asset transfers for nil consideration. In the case of Libraries there are a number of specific considerations. Of particular relevance are:
• The Public Libraries & Museums Act 1964
• The Literary and Scientific Institutions Act 1854
• Local Government Act 1972 General Disposal Consent

In making an asset transfer decision, local authorities should:
• Have regard to their community strategy;
• Comply with "normal and prudent commercial practices", obtaining the view of a professionally qualified valuer so that the likely amount of the undervalue can be assessed, (there is a technical appendix to the General Disposal Consent which goes into further detail on how the valuation should be carried out);
• Understand:
o what community benefits will be realised by transfer;
o How the interests of local people will be better served;
o The business plan and financial viability of the community based organisation’s plans;
o The State Aid implications.

Further information and associated resources can be found in the “Understanding Asset Transfer” section of the planning tool.
 

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