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June 15, 2011

Asset transfer can be a long haul

What are the factors that contribute to a successful transfer of public assets and why do some transfers that on the face of it look quite straightforward, become impossibly complicated? Three years ago, the community of Gargunnock first entered into negotiations with Stirling Council for their village hall.  Nobody’s counting any chickens but the end of this drawn out saga might just be in sight. Or maybe not

Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer

GARGUNNOCK villagers have a few more weeks to wait before realising a dream take over of their local community centre.

Stirling Council’s executive was told that things were on track for the transfer but councillors decided to delay a final decision until a meeting of the full council within the coming weeks.

Council leader Graham Houston said: “A lot of information has been going around at the last minute so I feel it would be prudent to take the item to the full council.

“The council stands willing to make the transfer but we need the proper assurances in place and further explanations may be needed.

“Some information has been submitted but I think we need a fuller explanation and for that reason I think we should perhaps take it to the full council. It’s not a question of the council not wishing to do this. It’s about what security it requires to have over the property if anything should go wrong. We don’t want that to happen but we just need a clearer idea of what that security looks like.

We are currently in the position of saying that the request is not unreasonable and this shouldn’t hold anything up but I think there’s a difference of views on some aspects so we just need clarification.”

Gargunnock Community Trust first asked to acquire the centre from Stirling Council in 2008 and the council’s executive agreed in principle to the transfer.

The decision hinged on funding for the refurbishment and extension of the centre being secured by the trust. Last year the trust confirmed it still wanted to pursue the transfer but now wanted a revised scheme on a smaller scale.

Earlier this year the community centre management announced it had been given £148,000 by the Scottish Government and Leader towards the refurbishment of the centre.

That will be added to £90,000 from the Gargunnock Estate Trust, £20,000 from the Stafford Trust and money raised by locals.

Final handover of the grant is dependent on the centre being transferred to community ownership by Stirling Council.