Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Of beach huts, playing fields and charging the market rate

There has been quite a struggle over beach huts in East Devon - over proposals to bring the rental into line with 'the market':
Futures Forum: East Devon beach huts: when Sidmouth is Brighton
Futures Forum: East Devon beach huts: scrutinising how decisions are made
Futures Forum: East Devon's beach huts and the Asset Management Forum

Apparently, now "the saga surrounding Sidmouth’s beach huts seems to have drawn to a close" - because, at the new 'market rate', all the huts have been taken on:
EDDC announce all beach huts are now let - View News

At the same time, the District Council wants extend this policy into other areas - and to charge the 'market rate' for sports clubs:
‘Level playing field’ in new club facility rent charges across East Devon - News - Sidmouth Herald

Including the Sidmouth Lifeboat, which happens to be part of the Port Royal area up for 'redevelopment':
sidmouthlifeboat.org.uk | Sidmouth Lifeboat

And other councils are trying to do it - but not always successfully:
'Market rate' leases for Torbay sports clubs go back to drawing board | Torquay Herald Express

This is all part of councils being 'enterprising':

Enterprising councils 

Getting the most from trading and charging

What is an enterprising council? 

Every council is an enterprising council in one way or another. Councils have led the way in the public sector, demonstrating initiative and resourcefulness to rise to the social, economic and environmental challenges that our communities are facing. 

It is this willingness to not just think about doing things differently but to actually take action that has made local government the most efficient part of the public sector. 

The Localism Act 2011 introduces a new General Power of Competence (GPC), which explicitly gives councils the power to do anything that an individual can do which is not expressly prohibited by other legislation. This activity can include charging or it can be undertaken for a commercial purpose, and could be aimed at benefiting the authority, the area or its local communities. 

By giving councils the flexibility to act in their own financial interests, the GPC will allow councils to do more than was previously sanctioned under wellbeing powers. This guide will focus on how councils, on their own or working with other public bodies, can be enterprising by increasingly trading and charging. 

Enterprising councilsGetting the most from trading and charging2012 edition 

Meanwhile, there appears to be considerable confusion over what 'assets' are out there which can be 'traded and charged for':
EDDC cannot be sure what assets it owns and whether it is maintaining assets they no longer own | East Devon Watch

And then there are assets which might not be getting their full 'market value':
EDDC: some assets not sweating? | East Devon Watch

... or realising their full 'asset value':
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project ... and 'asset renovation'

Finally, as alluded to earlier, the District Council seems keen on 'sweating' a few assets on Sidmouth's seafront:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> ‘Scoping Report for the eastern end of Sidmouth’ >>> District Council pushes for "a three month scoping exercise completed mid November" and "a decision on full planning and design approach December 2016"

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