5 March 2019
City of York Council profits from £11million over 4 years of property sales
SELLING public spaces made City of York Council more than £11 million in the last four years, it has emerged. In this article Cllr Ian Gillies, York council leader, and York Central MP Rachael Maskell offer contrasting opinions on the benefits this strategy offers York and its future generations.
Meanwhile, we can see that research by The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism and Huffington Post found that since 2014, more than 12,000 public spaces around the UK have been sold by councils, raising £9.1 billion.
City of York Council, the research found, sold 26 spaces between 2014 and 2018, raising £11,007,413. Sales included Oliver House in Bishophill Junior for £2.6 million, Haymarket car park in Peasholme Green for £2.15 million, Grove House Care Home in Penleys Grove Street, which raised just over £1.6 million, and Stonebow House in April last year, for £750,000.
Cllr Ian Gillies, York council leader, said: “When we sell old and outdated facilities it allows us to provide more appropriate extra care facilities and support for older people, built to a higher specification than the ones we sell. We have also transferred several buildings and land to the local community and sold heritage assets to organisations who have shown that they are better able to care for and maintain them.”
Cllr Gillies said the council had invested more than £76 million to buy new assets to rejuvenate the city centre and invest in the renovation and development of historic buildings, such as a £20 million investment in York’s Guildhall. He added: “We have also agreed the largest capital programme the council has ever seen with £155 million to bring forward the York Central scheme which will deliver up to 2,500 homes and a minimum of 76,000sqm of new commercial space. This will provide essential new homes and facilitate economic growth that will create an estimated 6,000 new jobs, with £117 million agreed to build 600 new homes and £56 million to improve the York Outer Ring Road.”
York Central MP Rachael Maskell said the council “should be playing a vital role in protecting the interests of York residents now and in the future”. She said: “Instead this report shows how our council has sold off £11 million of our valuable assets in a completely unsustainable way that has robbed our future generations for a quick financial fix. I’ve repeatedly called for the care home closures to be halted.
“In addition to the council’s own land sales, with the sell-off of the Post Office, Bootham Park Hospital, the Barracks at Towthorpe, Strensall and Imphal Barracks on Fulford Road and much of Network Rail’s land, we are also seeing the Government facilitate the sale of York’s public land at a dramatic and unprecedented rate. Instead of these sales benefitting the people of York, these sites are due to be sold off to the highest bidder and all profits extracted from the city and used to plug holes in national budgets.”
Cllr Gillies said the council’s portfolio of buildings and land was reviewed on a regular basis to “deliver the council’s ambitions”, make sure they are “fit for purpose”, and to improve other services, such as care homes.
This article is courtesy of the Press – please vist their website for more news.
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