Ashford Borough Council adopts asset management strategy

Posted on 6 July 2020

Ashford Borough Council has adopted an asset management strategy for its corporate property portfolio with the intention to ensure it invests prudently, achieves long term value for money, meets the needs of customers and supports the authority’s carbon neutrality objectives.

The Corporate Property Asset Management Strategy (2020 –2024) replaces the previous Corporate Property Management Strategy and sets out the council’s high-level strategic framework for managing its portfolio of nearly 2,000 corporate property assets for the next four years.

Carlton Road Business Park in Ashford
Carlton Road Business Park in Ashford

It will align corporate and property strategies, ensuring the optimisation of corporate property assets in a way which best supports key services, corporate objectives and to provide affordable levels of service within financial resource risk constraints.

It lays the foundation for the efficient use of all assets, providing a platform for structured and rigorous forward thinking and decision-making about operational and property asset strategies. The strategy enables the council to be clear about the extent, value, condition and suitability of its corporate property portfolio and will form the basis for consultative strategy development and clear methodologies for measuring performance and supporting service delivery.

Elwick Place in Ashford
Elwick Place in Ashford

The strategy takes consideration of the council’s objective to become 80% carbon neutral by 2025 and 100% carbon neutral by 2030.

The council’s wide-ranging portfolio includes International House and other offices, Park Mall shopping centre, the Elwick Place cinema, hotel and leisure development in Ashford town centre, industrial estates and business parks, car parks, leisure facilities, community centres, public toilets, allotments and other land, plus more than 1,500 individual garages for rent across the borough. It also includes historical monuments.

“The council takes considerable care of its physical assets as well as the decision making that goes into any acquisitions.”

Cllr Paul Clokie, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for corporate property

Cllr Paul Clokie, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for corporate property, said: “We should be sure that we wish to continue with our ownership of the asset and then ensure that we have it on a maintenance schedule. Due to historical budget constraints, maintenance of assets has not always kept pace with the need. It is the intention that all departments budget for the maintenance of any intended acquisition before it is taken over.

“Study the strategy and it will be seen that the council takes considerable care of its physical assets as well as the decision making that goes into any acquisitions. It will also be seen that there is a constant requirement to keep the maintenance budget up to the optimum level needed by increased acquisition. We have also included a need to assess the future levels required with each newly-acquired asset. Together, these measures will help increase the value of our corporate property assets.”

International House in Ashford
International House in Ashford

About ABC Corporate Property

The council’s Corporate Property team deals with the management of all non-residential property assets. Corporate Property consists of operational properties and non-operational properties.

Operational properties – Directly used to support council service delivery and those

operated by partner organisations.

Non-operational properties – Used to enable the council to support community and business and provide the council with a revenue stream. This includes surplus assets for disposal to support capital projects and strategic development land.

Travelodge Hotel and Picturehouse Cinema at Elwick Place
Travelodge Hotel and Picturehouse Cinema at Elwick Place

Strategic Objectives for the council’s corporate property stock

  • Invest prudently through stock investment projects and planned programmes delivered to meet a ‘just in time’ approach, to maximise preventative maintenance and reduce future responsive requirements for good stock condition.

  • Identify the need to make short and long-term plans in order to deliver maintenance and improvements on time.

  • Optimise the proportion of spending on planned and cyclical maintenance.

  • Work in partnership with customers to influence the quality of our services to enable our properties to meet their needs.

  • Secure long-term value for money.

  • Contribute to the wider aim of a carbon neutrality, promote energy efficiency and invest in corporate property carbon saving solutions.

  • Integrate the maintenance and improvement processes for major stock investment projects, planned and cyclical programmes, one-off responsive repairs and commercial void works.

  • Effectively manage our assets to meet customers’ current and future needs.

  • Efficient use of our assets, including redevelopment or disinvestment, to improve our financial capacity to provide more resources to deliver our wider objectives & service plans.

  • Balance demand for resources for investment in the existing stock compared with new development

  • Plan for service modernisation and new ways of working, building in flexibility to allow properties and their use to evolve.