Southampton City Council’s Community Asset Transfer Strategy (CAT) was first approved by Cabinet on 18 June 2013. The aim of CAT is to enable buildings or land to be transferred to a voluntary, community or faith organisation for community use. Transfers are either through a long lease of between 25 and 125 years or freehold. The assets are offered at less than market value in the CAT process.
Following feedback from participants in the pilot phase Cabinet approved amendments to the Strategy on 21 April 2015. More recently, on 8 October 2015, an additional amendment to section 4.4 was approved under delegated powers. A copy of the revised Community Asset Transfer Strategy can be found here.
Who can apply
Community, voluntary or faith organisations who can demonstrate that they are or will be:
- Properly constituted with strong and open governance arrangements
- In a position to hold property
- Able to manage the asset efficiently, including finances, health and safety and other operational issues
- Non-profit making and exist for community / social / environmental / economic benefit organisations, whilst recognising that they may have a business element to how they operate, such as a community café. However, this type of business and financial gain will not be the main driver and will not distribute any financial surplus to owners or members but applied to serving core community aims and objectives
- Open to and demonstrate an inclusive approach to members of the wider community.
If you are a new group forming for the purposes of CAT or are collaborating on a bid then you will still need to ensure that you are properly constituted with strong and open governance arrangements.
Who can't apply
- Organisations that operate solely for commercial, political or religious activities. Unless you change your purposes and your governance and aims and objectives
The application process
The Cabinet meeting on 21 April 2015 approved the recommendation to revise the application process to make it quicker and more streamlined. This new process is described below.
There are three ways the Community Asset Transfer process can start. See the CAT process flowchart
Scenario 1: An asset, building or land, has been approved for CAT and is occupied by an existing tenant who is applying for CAT either on their own or with a partner. Council officers will appraise the existing tenant and/or partner against a checklist. If successful, a report will be submitted to the Council's Cabinet recommending the transfer.
Scenario 2: An asset, building or land, has not been approved for CAT and is either occupied by an existing tenant or vacant - complete a Speculative Enquiry
Scenario 3: An asset, building or land, is advertised for four weeks by the council as available for CAT (these assets may be vacant or have an existing tenant who is not pursuing CAT themselves). If your organisation is interested in the asset you will need to complete the Expression of Interest