Rationalisation of properties in Tillicoultry
Monday 30th May 2011
Council leader Sam Ovens has written to the chair of Tillicoultry Action Group inviting representatives of the group to meet him to discuss properties in the town.
"I'm keen to get round the table with a smaller group of representatives so that we can engage properly," said Councillor Ovens. "I'm looking forward to hearing back from the group and hope that they agree that a smaller meeting with a few members of the group would be far more constructive and allow us to make some progress. I'll be submitting items for the agenda to the group before we meet."
Councillor Ovens attending a public meeting organised by Tillicoultry Action Group last week where he explained the Council's financial strategy including the plans to reduce the number of properties we run.
"We have asset management plans for eight of our communities. We have started with Tillicoultry, looking at all the buildings we own and how they are used and then at the wider community - other public buildings with facilities such as meeting rooms which could be used by groups. Our findings in Tillicoultry were pretty shocking and completely unsustainable which is why we agreed at the budget to rationalise the number of buildings we run in Tillicoultry. Many of our building are under-occupied and we can save money while retaining services if we can move them into fewer, better maintained buildings.
"This will be done in consultation with users and more detailed proposals will be brought back to Council before any final decisions are made. We've already written to the users of Tillicoultry Community Centre, one of the most under-occupied buildings, to find out more about their needs, to see if they can be accommodated elsewhere.
"I'd also like to discuss our initial plans round the table with Tillicoultry Action Group to get their views before a report is written for a future council meeting."
MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane Keith Brown was also amongst those in attendance at last week's public meeting. Mr Brown is Minister for Housing and Transport.
Councillor Ovens added: "I welcome the Minister's interest in this difficult issue. I am pleased that our MSP is in such a position of influence in our government. Perhaps he can use this influence to help Clackmannanshire Council to gain a better settlement during these difficult financial times.
"The Scottish Government has only given us settlement figures for 2011/12, making it difficult to plan with certainty. However, what is certain is that it is prudent to plan for further reductions and to anticipate these reductions.
"When the Council set its budget for 2011/12, savings of £8 million were agreed. The need to make an unprecedented level of savings has made us scrutinise every pound we spend to ensure we are delivering the best value possible for the council taxpayers of Clackmannanshire and focusing on our core business. This approach has been reiterated in updated reports to Council since the budget meeting and the Council's External Auditors have endorsed the prudent approach the Council is taking."
Notes to Editors
Our asset management plan has revealed that the Council owns 14 buildings in Tillicoultry. Usage figures for Tillicoultry Community Centre show that its facilities are used for 28% of the time that they are available to hire. The annual running costs for 2010/2011 is in excess of £339, 000 for the seven main Council buildings. The backlog maintenance is in excess of £973,000.