The future of Stoke on Trent councils property assets

I have received a reply on behalf of the Labour Group to my earlier email, see below.

Stoke Labour Group claim that Civic Centre and Swann House are excess buildings, and that there are no plans to close 40 buildings across the city. During Cabinet meeting 31st May Cllr Rosenau clearly states “we currently occupy 40 buildings across the city” and that “relocating 2000 staff to Central Business District will enable us to rationalise our assetts”

If Civic Centre and Swann House are the only excess buildings, Where are the 1100 extra staff coming from?

Stoke Labour Group claim that “Each building that we currently use will be assessed for use and function, cost benefit, running costs, repair costs, efficiency etc, and decisions will be made on an individual basis”, But on 31st May Cabinet agreed to the “active marketing and disposal of surplus buildings”  But details of the strategy to rationalise the Cities assetts will not be revealed untill 26th July at Cabinet.

An amendment needs to be made that either “active marketing and disposal of EACH surplus building Comes goes to Scrutiny Commission” or “a decison on the marketing and disposal of surplus building is made after the “Corporate Accommodation Strategy – Central Business District” report is produced, to safeguard the wholesale disposal of Council Assets before full and due consideration is given by ALL Councillors to EACH building.

Email sent to all City Councillors:

On the 5th of July you will be asked to make a commitment to the central business district and to the legal agreement with Genr8 being amended, the legal agreement will then be signed the following day on the 6th. But what about the future of the Authority’s asset portfolio across the City?

The Civic Centre and Swann House are to be closed and sold but what of the other 40 plus buildings? The strategy which considers the future use of councils property assets across the City will not be revealed until the 26th July.

Would it not be more prudent before committing the Council to a legal agreement and £40million investment to discuss the changes to the Councils assets and the services these provide to residents City Wide?

Labour Group Response

Mr Norris

Further to your email to the Labour Group on 15/06/2012

At Full Council on the 5th July we will be asking for the support of the elected members to take forward the plans for the CBD, a bold move which will also result in a more efficient and effective Council, something the residents of our City deserve.

You state that the Civic Centre and Swann House will be closed and sold, a cost effective way to maximise the rationalisation of excess buildings. You query “what of the other 40 plus buildings?”, we have never inferred that we as a Council would close 40 buildings. Each building that we currently use will be assessed for use and function, cost benefit, running costs, repair costs, efficiency etc, and decisions will be made on an individual basis. We will ensure that the best value for the City is utmost in our decisions. If we consider a building to be of benefit then it will stay within the Councils remit. The most significant benefit to our City will be the delivery of the CBD, integrated working, delivering effective working and efficiency savings.

We have not, nor will we make hasty decisions, we took a decision to develop our Mandate for Change, to promote our City and to make our City the best it can be. Elected members have been chosen by the people of our City to be their representatives, and to make decisions on their behalf.

Councillor Rosenau

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