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District Council giving responsibilities to Town Council: assets or liabilities?

  • by JW

There’s always the question of which level of local government should be responsible for what – and it gets rather confusing, especially as one authority deals with things differently from another:

Futures Forum: Comparing beach huts >>> East Devon and West Dorset


What should the District Council do with its assets?
Futures Forum: The District Council and its assets: to ‘release assets’ or to ‘invest in assets’?

It can sell them off cheap:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: and the ‘managed neglect’ of valuable assets
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: selling off assets for £1

It can cherish them:
Futures Forum: Of devolution, local assets and investing locally

It can try and manage them better:
Futures Forum: East Devon’s beach huts and the Asset Management Forum

It can double their price:
Futures Forum: East Devon beach huts >>> and the District Council’s ‘Transformation Strategy’


Clearly there are some assets the District Council would rather keep hold of:

Car parking charges: 30% of EDDC’s income | Sidmouth Independent News

Futures Forum: An alternative to councils simply making money out of parking charges: “mixed development”


As the recent furore over doubling income from the cash cow that is car parking showed:

Raising car parking charges is about raising revenue – not about reducing emissions


On the other hand, there are certain ‘assets’ which are clearly ‘liabilities’, as demonstrated by the latest offer reported in the Herald:


Council bosses to discuss passing off further Sidmouth ‘assets’ to town council

District council bosses are set to look at passing responsibility for Jacob’s Ladder and the seafront railings to Sidmouth Town Council.

East Devon District Council’s cabinet committee will discuss recommendations made by the Capital Strategy and Allocation Group at its next meeting on January 8.

The committee will be asked to approve bids to spend £20,000 to repaint the railings on Sidmouth seafront and £30,000 on repainting Jacob’s Ladder as well as structural works, before considering the potential transfer to the town council…

Councillor Ian Barlow, Sidmouth Town Council’s chairman, said: “We keep saying that we would be very happy to take on responsibilities for certain assets but at the same time we would want assets to pay for it in the future. Railings that need painting every year is not an asset, it is a liability. We will consider any offer that comes forward but it would have to be fair. They can’t just give is a liability without something that is going to help us manage and pay for it in the future, otherwise, it wouldn’t be responsible for us to take it on.”

Council bosses to discuss passing off further Sidmouth ‘assets’ to town council | Sidmouth Herald

Rough Sea at Jacob’s Ladder, Sidmouth © Christine Matthews …