Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee will meet on Thursday 19 May and will be asked to note the progress made in the process to date and agree a way forward for the remaining Council-owned facilities.

Three years ago, Members agreed savings of £283k through the Community Facilities Review.  At the beginning of the review in late 2013, 68 facilities were identified as being owned by our Council.  The facilities, made up of community centres, village halls and town halls provide community space for a variety of activities across the region.  Badminton, bongo-drumming and bingo all take place in these community facilities region-wide.

Some of these facilities have been transferred over to community groups to take on the management and running of the facilities, thus providing a cost saving to the Council but not negatively impacting on the local communities.  In fact, many community facilities are thriving under the new setup, with locals taking over the management of the facility and being immensely proud to do so.  Management Committees are put in place at facilities and are responsible for the day to day running of the facilities and pick up costs such as oil, water, cleaning and repairs to the building.  In exchange for picking up these costs, the facility is run rent free, with the Committees not being charged a lease or rent by our Council.

Members of the Communities Committee will be asked to sign off on another 18 facilities being transferred to local communities across the region, with a completion date of 31 March 2017.  This is estimated to provide a saving of over £80k effective as of 1 April 2017.  Some of these facilities include Moffat town Hall, Glentrool School and Summerhill Community Centre.  These examples provide a great snapshot of the varying types of facilities that operate in our local communities.

A report will be taken to Communities Committee later this year to inform Members of the progress in the transfer of these 18 facilities.

There are also facilities that Members will be asked to note that are not part of the facilities review due to their historic status.  They are;

·         McMillan Hall, Newton Stewart

·         Lochmaben Town Hall

·         Victoria Halls, Annan

·         Lockerbie Town Hall ( Main Photo)

·         Castle Douglas Town Hall

·         Dalbeattie Town Hall

Chairman of the Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Tom McAughtrie welcomed the progress.  He said;

“The Community Facilities review has been one of our biggest success stories in recent times.  The Community Empowerment Act introduced last year gives communities a real say and some legislative backing on how their communities are operated.  Our Council is at the forefront of this, by putting local people in charge of local facilities.  I look forward to receiving the progress report on the 18 facilities proposed for community transfer by March next year.  We all know that our Council needs to save an unprecedented sum of money, and whilst this review has identified savings, is has undoubtedly has a positive effect on communities.  Long may this effect continue.”

To view the report ahead of Thursday’s meeting please see http://egenda.dumgal.gov.uk/aksdumgal/users/public/admin/kab14.pl?operation=SUBMIT&meet=1&cmte=MUN&grpid=public&arc=71

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