The Council are undertaking an in-depth review of Park buildings. Many require significant work to bring them to a lettable standard, which will be costly to carry out. All works identified will need to be carried out before leasing a property. Where these are small scale or of a limited nature, it may be possible to carry this work out within existing budgets. Where works are more significant, funding may need to be secured.
The majority of the buildings have restrictions on use due to park closing times and access arrangements, which should be considered when making an application.
It is very important that organisations wishing to lease a Council-owned park building meet standards in line with the expectations of both the public and the Council. The prospective tenant will:
- Be durable, sustainable and financially viable in the medium and longer term
- Maximise opening hours and local user engagement
- Promote good mental and physical wellbeing
- Activate the asset for wider community benefits
- Build strong community ties
- Provide a focal point for the community, promoting a sense of identity, ownership and pride to reduce levels of antisocial behaviour
Leasing empty Parks buildings
All Parks buildings identified to be in a suitable condition will be advertised by our marketing agents Dobbin & Sullivan (D&S) on their website.
We will also refer to the list of organisations who have identified space needs through the Compost Survey, selecting those VCS organisations who are best suited.
D&S will report all offers received to the Council, and will assist with negotiating with the shortlisted candidates. We require organisations to submit a business case at this point, along with any supporting documentation.
The business case and additional evidence submitted will be reviewed and scored by a 3-person panel. This delivers a fair and transparent process and ensures we select the most suitable applicant for the building.
Once we have determined the successful applicant, the Council's Property Services team will take forward the lease negotiation, including Heads of Terms and a social value assessment form where organisations are eligible.
Depending on outcome, an organisation could receive between 20-80% subsidies on their rent. This is for organisations scoring 25-100 on the self-assessment form, with the subsidy reviewed annually to reflect any changes to the performance of the organisation.
What happens if you are unsuccessful?
All organisations that are not successful in their application will receive ongoing support. They will be contacted with any opportunities that come up in the future, both through the Council’s agents Dobbin & Sullivan, as well as other spaces available in the community.