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Councillor questions selling council properties for just £1

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By Fiona Reid
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Councillor questions selling council properties for just £1

THE practice of Dumfries and Galloway Council owned buildings being sold off to community groups for just £1 was questioned by councillors last week.

This token payment for finalising a community asset transfer of buildings often comes with the benefit of community groups upgrading them and attracting inward investment for the region, however the council loses out on potential profits.

The matter came under the spotlight at the council’s finance committee last Thursday as members signed off on handing over ownership of Kirkcudbright Tennis Club in a £1 deal.

But Mid Galloway and Wigtown West Councillor Katie Hagmann suggested that the council and community groups “may be missing a trick” because there are huge pots of government cash available for such community-led projects.

She said: “It almost feels like we’re missing a trick. We’re missing an opportunity to bid into these funding pots that are available.”

Jamie Ferguson, the council’s community development and empowerment manager, told councillors that the policy around community asset transfers is to be reviewed.

However, he underlined the upside of community asset transfers, saying: “We’ve gone back to community groups and looked at home much investment they’ve brought into Dumfries and Galloway via external funding.

“We’re sitting at a one to six ratio. For every pound we’re investing as a council, the community is bringing in six times that.

“Now that’s not a direct payment to the council, but it’s certainly an investment into local communities.”

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