Cutswatch: Leeds Council wants £37m from selling off buildings next year

WLD cutswatch

Words: Richard Beecham, local democracy reporter

Leeds City Council plans to make more than £100m in just five years from building sales, according to a report set to go before senior councillors next week.

A document written by council officers added that the authority had made £11.5m selling sites – including Armley Grange, Richmond Hill Leisure Centre and Bramham House – in the past year alone.

Among the bigger sites the authority plans on selling in the coming year are Redhall in Wetherby Road and a site in Lisbon Street, both of which are understood to be close to a deal with potential buyers.

The council said it needs to keep selling buildings to make sure its estate is ‘an appropriate size’ for services to continue.

Buildings/land in West Leeds earmarked for sale in the next financial year include:

  • South Pudsey Centre, Kent Road.
  • Land at Viaduct Road (to rear of former Thyssen Krupp site)

The document states:

“Given the council’s budget position and impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Executive Board in September 2020 agreed the  approach presented to rationalise the council’s property estate further, and accelerate the disposal of properties.

“The release of properties will support the council’s financial position both in the form of cost savings and income generation to the capital receipts Programme, but will also ensure that our estate is appropriate in both form and size to support ongoing service delivery.”

The document claims that, since January 2020, sales have totalled £11.57m – these included Park Farm, Colton; Armley Grange, Armley; Richmond Hill Leisure Centre; Ashfield Works, Otley; Bramham House, Bramham; Shire View, Headingley – all of which contributed £6.9m.

The auctioning of Otley Civic Centre, Guiseley Library, Royal Park Primary Caretaker’s House, Potternewton East Lodge and 100 Town Street Armley contributed £1.677m to the total.

It plans to have raised a total of £112.1m between 2020 and 2025 – with £37.1m expected to be generated during the 2021/22 municipal year alone.

The report added:

“Ensuring that the council has an efficient, well utilised and affordable estate is a driver of the estate management strategy and a number of the priorities set out in this paper contribute to this objective. Through the estate rationalisation process which will be achieved through more flexible use of our accommodation, we are seeking to reduce running costs associated with buildings as well as maintenance liabilities.

“However, it is important to note that it will be important to make investment into our retained estate to ensure that it is fit for purpose, appropriately maintained and sustainable.”

The report will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday, February 11


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