CORNWALL Council has said there is “no list available” of the 2,000 assets it is looking to get rid of in a decentralisation plan.

The local authority states the plan will save it millions of pounds and lead to better, more localised management of beaches, parks, car parks, green spaces, playing fields, chapels and other property.

The council’s cabinet agreed last week to a programme to get the ball rolling on either handing over or selling a large number of environment, heritage and other land-based assets. The council claims other parties would be more suitable to manage them. Those the authority is in discussion with include town and parish councils, the National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Cornwall Heritage Trust.

Councillors were asked to make the urgent decision for work to start devolving the assets this summer to make savings/additional income of £2-million in 2024/25. Following a review, the council’s strategic director for sustainable growth and development would be responsible for transferring assets to the most appropriate recipient.

The matter was added as a last-minute urgent item to the cabinet’s agenda on Wednesday, March 20, which led to concerns by non-Conservative members of the council.

Labour councillor Jayne Kirkham said: “Am I the only person that’s worried that we’re making an urgent decision to try and get money from basically getting rid of, or possibly selling, 2,000 of our most precious assets including our beaches?

“It really worries me. If we’re trying to make the money this year or next year how on earth can we do the correct due diligence to make sure that potentially hundreds of these things go to the right homes?

“We’re delegating authority to do this to just one officer, with some engagement, but just one officer can make all these decisions about all these precious places.

“It seems like a desperate attempt to claw in money and a huge risk to some of our most precious places in Cornwall.”

The council’s chief executive Kate Kennally admitted it was a cost-cutting exercise, telling the cabinet meeting it was an urgent item “because there is a financial imperative that faces this authority that was known by all members when you approved the budget. We’re using some one-off reserves in order to fund the delivery of public services and we need to right that position through bringing forward recurrent savings opportunities.”

We asked to see a list of the assets the council was considering transferring to new owners, but were told no such list currently exists.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Cabinet approved the development of a programme with each potential asset subject to review to assess its future use, ownership and community benefit.

“There is no list available at this time as each of those assets identified as being potentially part of the programme will be discussed with local members, subject to consultation where applicable, and a robust decision-making process.”

A source tells us that the council is considering selling a number of car parks to a private company.

The authority did not respond to that specific point.