Calderdale Council needs to decide what its core estate is so repairs can be made to high priority buildings.
Calderdale Council has almost 1,000 land and property assets – almost 300 non-school buildings and nearly 700 sites.
With the first year of a five-year plan to improve the portfolio nearing completion, members of the council’s Corporate Asset and Facilities Management Board were updated on phase one and a changing approach looking ahead.
Three projects to upgrade and reconfigure council depots at Manor Heath, Halifax Fire Station and Stannary, off Crib Lane, Halifax, have been completed while schemes for Brighouse, Elland, Todmorden and a respite care hub have slipped back but should still be completed by the end of 2020-21.
Part of the reason is staff having to be diverted to unforeseen work, for example at Orangebox in Halifax and Brighouse Market – but a new case-by-case approach rather than another phase of work will be taken going forward, councillors heard.
Councillor Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said this was more dynamic, allowing the council to react to changing situations.
The council needs to decide what its core estate is and prioritise repairs to meet that, officers told the board.
This will primarily mean high priority buildings of focus which are required as bare minimum provision for the council to operate and deliver its statutory and significant functions. These would be prioritised.
Board chair Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said despite staffing pressures the estate team were developing a lot of projects including the library and Westgarth properties at Elland.
Plans were still progressing to asset transfer Todmorden Community College, a scheme for Todmorden Library will see its reading room merged with the IT space into one and work was in the pipeline to improve access to Todmorden Town Hall, for example.
The council’s Head of Finance Nigel Broadbent said the asset review scheme had cost implications with improvements to some property funded by disposal of other property which the council no longer required.
Councillors heard otherwise upgrades would have to be done on a self-funding basis but Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) said she had concerns about this.
A prime example of a building but needed improving that could not be improved on a self-financing basis was Halifax Town Hall.
“Parts of the entrance are looking very shabby, it doesn’t look very nice when people come to visit,” she said.
Officers said individual schemes could be brought forward but might have to be subject to a separate capital spending bid to do the work.
In some cases it was a case of spending the council’s money wisely – doing something because it was the right thing to do and doing it well.