Members of the council’s decision-making Executive Board have approved the sale of a former community facility and its surrounding land.
The cash-strapped council – facing a £119m budget deficit – agreed to sell South Pudsey Community Centre on Kent Road, which was formerly office accommodation for the Council’s Children and Families department.
A report to the executive board said the authority plans to make more than £100m in just five years from building sales. It 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.
Pudsey councillor Trish Smith is calling for better and more timely engagement over budget proposals affecting their ward. She said:
“I was disappointed to only learn about this latest proposal to sell an asset in Pudsey around the time that the papers for the meeting were made public. As local councillors we are here to represent our local communities, and we can’t do that effectively unless we have timely information about what is planned for our areas.”
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