More council-owned properties set to go in Worcestershire

Malvern Gazette: Elgar House in Kidderminster is among the buildings sold Elgar House in Kidderminster is among the buildings sold

NEARLY 70 council buildings across Worcestershire have been sold during the last two years, the biggest public sector sell-off ever.

Worcestershire County Council has undertaken an unprecedented cull of unwanted offices by selling 66 sites since 2011, 30 per cent of its entire floor space.

The Worcester News can reveal that the deals, which brought in £9 million for council coffers, are carrying on into 2014 with the hope of earning even more money.

The council wants to sell more land at higher values by getting planning permission to turn some into homes, making plots more attractive to private developers.

It still owns 219 sites around the county.

Buildings handed over in recent months include Pitmaston House, an office block in Malvern Road, Worcester, which is being turned into luxury flats, and Elgar House, Kidderminster.

The authority says “no other council” in the country is so advanced in selling unwanted sites, so much so that the Government is highlighting Worcestershire as a a national example for the rest of the country to follow.

All 854 council staff who used to work at Bridgewater House, a massive office block opposite Elgar Retail Park in Warndon, have also relocated to County Hall.

The mass sell-off included 42 freehold deals - where the buyer gets a property and the land it sits on - and 24 leaseholds, where it obtained the building only.

In recent years acres of space have become empty as staffing numbers at the council have shrunk, and at least another 600 job cuts are on the way by 2017 as part of a plan to save £98m.

The plan is to carry on selling buildings until the council has just four main admin sites - County Hall and Wildwood, both in Worcester, Parkside in Bromsgrove and County Buildings, Stourport.

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Peter Parkes, head of property services, said: “You will not find statistics like these anywhere else in the country. We have to continue our approach and have no problem in holding onto a property for an extra 12 months if we can get planning permission for new homes, or even keeping it three or four years if we feel its value will rise.”

He also said the council is looking to put stipulations into some deals, so if an area of sold land is developed into homes in the future the authority will get a slice of the profits.

Comments (8)

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11:26am Thu 21 Nov 13

THE FACTS says...

EXCELLENT!
WE NEED THE NHS AND OTHER PUBLIC BODIES TO FOLLOW SUIT NOW
EXCELLENT! WE NEED THE NHS AND OTHER PUBLIC BODIES TO FOLLOW SUIT NOW THE FACTS

12:03pm Thu 21 Nov 13

Landy44 says...

THE FACTS wrote:
EXCELLENT!
WE NEED THE NHS AND OTHER PUBLIC BODIES TO FOLLOW SUIT NOW
Agree 100%

Perhaps someone could also explain how they managed to have SOOOO many buildings in the first place! Sounds like more council financial mismanagement to me!!!!! Muppets.
[quote][p][bold]THE FACTS[/bold] wrote: EXCELLENT! WE NEED THE NHS AND OTHER PUBLIC BODIES TO FOLLOW SUIT NOW[/p][/quote]Agree 100% Perhaps someone could also explain how they managed to have SOOOO many buildings in the first place! Sounds like more council financial mismanagement to me!!!!! Muppets. Landy44

12:46pm Thu 21 Nov 13

green49 says...

What has happened is County hall have moved nearly 600 people into Worcester now, after selling off various property, it is createing chaos for parking around county hall, they have even put up wood barriers to stop people parking on the grass verges, ( I WONDER HOW MUCH THAT COST US ALL )Spetchley road is already full due to the 6th form college so there were a lot of cars parked on grass verges so the council put £70 parking notices on them? how wonderful the council are? NOT
Great planning again,? there are few working desks, hot desks and so were do people work from? in cars in the corridors and they even have to transport files and laptops by a buggy thing from one place to another, Whats going to happen when the bad weather is about? more cars on the roads coming into County hall for a start? how brainless can the WCC be?
What has happened is County hall have moved nearly 600 people into Worcester now, after selling off various property, it is createing chaos for parking around county hall, they have even put up wood barriers to stop people parking on the grass verges, ( I WONDER HOW MUCH THAT COST US ALL )Spetchley road is already full due to the 6th form college so there were a lot of cars parked on grass verges so the council put £70 parking notices on them? how wonderful the council are? NOT Great planning again,? there are few working desks, hot desks and so were do people work from? in cars in the corridors and they even have to transport files and laptops by a buggy thing from one place to another, Whats going to happen when the bad weather is about? more cars on the roads coming into County hall for a start? how brainless can the WCC be? green49

1:40pm Thu 21 Nov 13

THE FACTS says...

Use a bus.
Use a bus. THE FACTS

1:50pm Thu 21 Nov 13

skychip says...

I agree with green49. Nightmare on Spetchley Road and surrounding roads. What it will be like when 250 houses are built at the back of Kilbury Drive, with the access coming out onto Spetchley Road, because the Highways Department wont create an access on the dual carriageway, heaven above knows, permanent gridlock. Still dont expect the County Council to worry about our concerns. On another issue must be a nightmare to work in County Hall with so many extra bodies and having to desk share, not really a good working environment.
I agree with green49. Nightmare on Spetchley Road and surrounding roads. What it will be like when 250 houses are built at the back of Kilbury Drive, with the access coming out onto Spetchley Road, because the Highways Department wont create an access on the dual carriageway, heaven above knows, permanent gridlock. Still dont expect the County Council to worry about our concerns. On another issue must be a nightmare to work in County Hall with so many extra bodies and having to desk share, not really a good working environment. skychip

3:09pm Thu 21 Nov 13

green49 says...

THE FACTS says...

Use a bus.
The bus services are being withdrawn? havent you heard?
THE FACTS says... Use a bus. The bus services are being withdrawn? havent you heard? green49

3:14pm Thu 21 Nov 13

green49 says...

skychip its a national issue that the highways cant access onto the dual carrigeway from spetchley road, it will never happen but we in the area have all tried to stop or cut down whats going on but this idiot of a goverment have opened the door for house building anywhere and we will all pay for it.
skychip its a national issue that the highways cant access onto the dual carrigeway from spetchley road, it will never happen but we in the area have all tried to stop or cut down whats going on but this idiot of a goverment have opened the door for house building anywhere and we will all pay for it. green49

4:02pm Thu 21 Nov 13

skychip says...

What will happen when the Southern link will have houses built on land either side, surely there will be roundabouts off it,, as it is now in fact.
What will happen when the Southern link will have houses built on land either side, surely there will be roundabouts off it,, as it is now in fact. skychip
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