Glasgow City Council today (7 February) approved a Property and Land Strategy which will guide how the council makes the best use of its substantial property and land estate, the biggest in the city. The possible relocation of council offices from the city centre to key regeneration areas across Glasgow is one action being considered through the strategy.
The strategy aims to help improve services to communities, reducing public costs and raising income for the council, increasing community engagement and regenerating neighbourhoods across the city over the next decade.
The council has more than 1,000 operational properties, including schools and nurseries, care homes, offices, community and sports centres, museums, galleries and libraries, as well as surplus property and land.
The size of this estate means that it plays a significant role in the life of the city, helping neighbourhoods throughout Glasgow thrive, and the council is committed to working with local communities to rethink how these are used to ensure that - in an era of challenging finances for local authorities - its facilities are fit for purpose; solutions are found to protect our built heritage; derelict sites are restored to productive use; and that ownership is opened up to other groups and organisations where appropriate and possible.
The possible relocation of some council offices from the city centre to regeneration areas in various parts of the city would allow not only more effective delivery of council services but also act as a catalyst for the social and economic regeneration of local communities. Locating council offices or facilities in particular areas plays a key role in attracting investment, development and creating local employment opportunities.
The council will also work with community groups, public agencies and third sector organisations to ensure that services meet local needs and priorities, and the Property and Land Strategy will inform how these needs and priorities are best met through the council's estate through measures such as co-location and investment in / repurposing of sites.
Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm at Glasgow City Council, said: "Over the next decade, the adoption of the council's Property and Land Strategy will mean our estate will be used more efficiently and effectively, with the people of Glasgow more closely involved and better served. The council will also have reduced costs in the years ahead, as well as the ability to raise capital receipts to help deliver improved public services in the city. The proper location of these services will aid the regeneration of neighbourhoods throughout Glasgow, and deliver real, inclusive economic growth."
Three complementary asset plans will support the Property and Land Strategy: the Community Asset Plan; the Built Heritage Plan; and the Vacant and Derelict Land Plan. The first of these reflects the council's commitment to the greater involvement and empowerment of our citizens; the second provides a consistent and considered approach to the stewardship of the council's built heritage; and the third addresses the potential blight, cost and missed opportunity that vacant and derelict properties and land can represent for the council and the city.
The council's Property and Land Strategy, approved at today's City Administration Committee, has five key objectives driving the approach to the use of, and investment in, its property and land estate between 2019 - 2022:
A more efficient, sustainable, smaller, and better quality estate;
An agile estate capable of meeting current and future service delivery needs;
Collaborating and co-locating with community planning partners, third sector organisations and city region partners;
Achieving cost reductions, increasing income and generating capital receipts; and
Embracing digital and technological innovation to reduce reliance on and improve the performance of the estate.
In order to achieve these objectives, a number of actions are being considered, including the relocation of city centre offices to support regeneration through the identification of suitable locations owned by the council or its partners in key regeneration districts, and planning for a phased withdrawal from these higher-cost city centre locations. Such action would reduce public costs and increase local employment opportunities in these districts.
Another potential action being recommended is the development of multi-service/multi-agency community hubs across the city, which will allow greater community involvement and greater effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery. Additionally, multi-service operation hubs will be established to increase collaborative and co-operative working; deliver economies of scale and raise capital receipts through the sale of released sites.
The council will also work with communities to co-design future delivery needs, with local communities being directly involved in local sites. Communities will also be given the opportunity to take over the ownership and management of community assets through Community Asset Transfer.
Where council properties are of particular cultural or heritage importance, an innovative approach to their management and purpose will be taken, with plans put it in place - working with local and national heritage bodies - to maintain and protect these buildings and put them to productive use where appropriate.
The strategy will also repurpose the council's under-occupied and surplus properties through identification of those properties which will be developed in the long-term and those which can be marketed, and this will reduce costs, raise capital receipts and allow regeneration by both the public and private sectors.
The final action of the strategy will be to ensure that future investment in council property minimises environmental impact and establishes affordable life-cycle maintenance through whole-life financial modelling and adapting low-carbon technologies, delivering reduced repair costs and a leaner, greener estate.