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Council adopts corporate strategy

Ashford Borough Council has adopted a corporate property management strategy to handle its portfolio of assets.

The council says that the strategy has been prepared against a backdrop of “unprecedented change” in local government, with revenue support grant funding to reach zero by 2019-20.

Over the past five years, the council says that its asset portfolio has grown significantly. The council attributes this to the social wellbeing of its residents and its commitment to regenerate parts of the borough.

The decision to adopt the strategy to oversee the portfolio was agreed at a cabinet meeting on 12 April.

The strategy sets out a framework for managing the council’s property portfolio from 2018 to 2021 and will be subject to an initial review after 12 months, then every three years.

It identifies five overarching principles of establishing a central shared property asset database, safe and efficient data management, a consistent approach to property management, transparent decision making and ongoing review.

Whilst the main focus of the strategy is property management, it also incorporates other functions such as project management, debt recovery, disposal and acquisition strategy, procurement and borrowing policy.

Cllr Graham Galpin, portfolio holder for corporate property, called the adoption of the strategy “another milestone” on the council’s journey to becoming a commercial, self-sufficient organisation.

He said: “We are seeing significant returns from our acquisitions. In the 2016-17 financial year, International House delivered a return on investment of 12.6%, Ellingham Industrial Estate 12.3%, Stanhope shops 9% and Wilko 8.8%.

“I’m confident this new strategy will help us to continue delivering terrific results on behalf of our local residents.”

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