Cheshire East to create property consultancy

Cheshire East Council is to establish a council-owned company to deliver building and planning consultancy to residents, with a target date of 1 April to transfer all services and staff from the relevant council department to the company.

The new consultancy would be a subsidiary of the Cheshire East Residents First parent company and according to the council would act as a "one-stop-shop for people seeking to make investments".

A report ahead of the council's cabinet meeting on 6 January said that the company would open up opportunities for partnerships with neighbouring authorities to deliver economies of scale, as well as reducing the threat from market competitors which has caused a decline in council income.

The main services delivered would be building control, local land charges, planning support and liaison, and street naming and numbering.

The company would be structured in a way to allow the council to enter into a contract for the delivery of services without having to go through a procurement exercise. The exemption means that 80% of the work would have to be for the council, with the remaining activity provided directly to the public.

Only the consultancy services provided directly to the public would be allowed to make a profit, which would be used to offset a £234,000 loss of income from the proposed reform of land search charges which would see revenue sent to central Government from 2017.

According to council predictions, the company would deliver a profit of £260,000 over the first five years of operation, compared to an £890,000 loss if no change is made.

Cllr Andrew Kolker will be chairman of the board, with Cllr Olivia Hunter a director, and council officer Ian Bunn the general manager.

The establishment of the company was approved at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday 6 January.

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so would this be similar to what Salford/Urban Vision have done?

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