Mass public sector buildings sell-off revealed

Worcestershire County Council's County Hall HQ

Worcestershire County Council's County Hall HQ

First published in News Malvern Gazette: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A MASS building sell-off is being prepared across the public sector in Worcestershire - in the hope it can generate £118 million of cash.

Your Worcester News can reveal how a raft of cash-strapped bodies are teaming up to prepare a joint plan to dramatically scale down their properties.

It includes the likes of Worcestershire County Council, West Mercia Police, the NHS trust, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and the city council.

The project, which also includes Warwickshire Police and Redditch Borough Council, will see a major project established to share or sell buildings left redundant due to years of cuts.

Around £56 million of taxpayers' cash is currently ploughed into funding hundreds of pieces of property between all the organisations per year, and there is a feeling among them that it could be slashed significantly.

The county council, which needs to axe around £25 million from spending every year until at least 2019, is leading the project and says it could result in £118 million of combined income from sales, and save a combined £110 million in revenue costs by 2024.

The staggering sums are being funded by £775,000 of advance cash, including a contribution from the Government.

A report going to the county council's cabinet says the project, known as the "joint property vehicle", would see energy use driven down and the most expensive buildings sold.

It also says a joint, cheaper deal would be negotiated with contractors for repairs and maintenance to all the buildings, rather than have each organisation go it alone.

A final business case for it is now due to be developed, on the understanding 'crown jewel' assets like the Guildhall, County Hall and the police's Hindlip base are safe.

Money from redundant buildings which are sold will go straight back to individual organisations, rather than be shared.

Some buildings on a county council for-sale list already includes the old pupil referral unit in Stanley Road, Worcester, and the former Stourport Primary School in Tan Lane.

The council's Conservative cabinet is meeting tomorrow to agree the project to develop to the next stage.

It says the deal will bring "significant benefits across the region" and "radically transform" the status quo.

Councillor Richard Boorn, cabinet member for finance at the city council, said: "This is certainly something we want to pursue - it would result in us being a fitter, leaner council."

Councillor Derek Prodger, chairman of the fire authority, said: "We can certainly play a part in this and it is something I definitely support.

"A review of public sector office space is long overdue, I welcome it."

Comments (10)

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5:45pm Wed 5 Mar 14

b1ackb1rd says...

They will have to sell for a song as most public buildings have been neglected for decades
They will have to sell for a song as most public buildings have been neglected for decades b1ackb1rd
  • Score: 1

5:58pm Wed 5 Mar 14

voledog says...

So, let's get this right...us tax payers currently own these buildings but now we have to sell them because we gave all our money to bail out the banks when they screwed up. It's a win, win situation for us plebs isn't it? Maybe some bankers will snap up our property by spending a bit of their latest bonus payments!
So, let's get this right...us tax payers currently own these buildings but now we have to sell them because we gave all our money to bail out the banks when they screwed up. It's a win, win situation for us plebs isn't it? Maybe some bankers will snap up our property by spending a bit of their latest bonus payments! voledog
  • Score: 9

7:55pm Wed 5 Mar 14

skychip says...

Perhaps some of the proceeds could go towards car parking spaces for employees who have to spend considerable time trying to find somewhere to park near County Hall, not good use of our time.
Perhaps some of the proceeds could go towards car parking spaces for employees who have to spend considerable time trying to find somewhere to park near County Hall, not good use of our time. skychip
  • Score: 3

10:33pm Wed 5 Mar 14

BrownSauce says...

skychip wrote:
Perhaps some of the proceeds could go towards car parking spaces for employees who have to spend considerable time trying to find somewhere to park near County Hall, not good use of our time.
Taxpayers money can be better spent on care of the public, not on such secondary items for its servants.

No wonder we get such dire service from County Hall if that's all you can think about.
[quote][p][bold]skychip[/bold] wrote: Perhaps some of the proceeds could go towards car parking spaces for employees who have to spend considerable time trying to find somewhere to park near County Hall, not good use of our time.[/p][/quote]Taxpayers money can be better spent on care of the public, not on such secondary items for its servants. No wonder we get such dire service from County Hall if that's all you can think about. BrownSauce
  • Score: -1

10:35pm Wed 5 Mar 14

BrownSauce says...

Podger is deeply involved, so don't worry... you know it's in safe hands :D
Podger is deeply involved, so don't worry... you know it's in safe hands :D BrownSauce
  • Score: -1

12:54am Thu 6 Mar 14

Jabbadad says...

Selling off public buildings can be unsatisfactory, if the need for the buildings is there as of course you then have to pay high rents from the new owners.
But yes I am sure Derek Prodger and his fellow Tories will support this as it's all a part of the bigger picture of Privatisation, and this CON-servative government will have privatised swathes of public services and buildings in their hopefully shortening time in office more than at any other time I can recall.
Selling off public buildings can be unsatisfactory, if the need for the buildings is there as of course you then have to pay high rents from the new owners. But yes I am sure Derek Prodger and his fellow Tories will support this as it's all a part of the bigger picture of Privatisation, and this CON-servative government will have privatised swathes of public services and buildings in their hopefully shortening time in office more than at any other time I can recall. Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

7:19am Thu 6 Mar 14

green49 says...

Well said voledog, totally agree with you, Lets see what happens with this and lets see how much is made and where every penny goes? its taxpayers money NOT county halls.
Of course Mr Prodger will be involved so everything will be alright wont it, ****
Well said voledog, totally agree with you, Lets see what happens with this and lets see how much is made and where every penny goes? its taxpayers money NOT county halls. Of course Mr Prodger will be involved so everything will be alright wont it, **** green49
  • Score: 0

7:24am Thu 6 Mar 14

green49 says...

Spetchley road is a disaster area for parking, dont blame the workers blame the council officers and councillors, they have a space but after closing loads of the buildings out of Worcester and they want to sell them off the staff have to now go to county hall to work and thats whats happened, the council are to blame yet they dont think its any of there fault? *****
Spetchley road is a disaster area for parking, dont blame the workers blame the council officers and councillors, they have a space but after closing loads of the buildings out of Worcester and they want to sell them off the staff have to now go to county hall to work and thats whats happened, the council are to blame yet they dont think its any of there fault? ***** green49
  • Score: 5

12:32pm Thu 6 Mar 14

RobertR says...

It's been standard CON-servative practice since the Thatcher regime to sell the floorboards to pay for the carpets.
It's been standard CON-servative practice since the Thatcher regime to sell the floorboards to pay for the carpets. RobertR
  • Score: 3

10:13pm Thu 6 Mar 14

MerryW says...

Reviewing the public estate is nothing new and Cllr Prodger should know that if he took an interest. County Hall parking is important if we are paying people half an hour a day to find a space to attend their place of work. Stop moaning about ordinary people trying to do a job and ask instead why councillors still have a shiny Jag sat in the car park at county hall at their disposal. How much is that costing? Cuts should apply to everyone?
Reviewing the public estate is nothing new and Cllr Prodger should know that if he took an interest. County Hall parking is important if we are paying people half an hour a day to find a space to attend their place of work. Stop moaning about ordinary people trying to do a job and ask instead why councillors still have a shiny Jag sat in the car park at county hall at their disposal. How much is that costing? Cuts should apply to everyone? MerryW
  • Score: 2

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