Words: Richard Beecham, local democracy reporter
Additional reporting: John Baron, WLD editor
Leeds City Council has made £44m from selling numerous buildings over the past year, a new document has revealed.
The paper, set to go before the council’s decision-making executive board next week, also listed a further 46 sites from across Leeds the authority plans to sell next year.
These include historic Abbey Mills in Kirkstall, a 30,000 sq ft Grade II listed mill that lies just south of the Abbey and is owned by the council.
WLD reported in November 2020 that the council wanted to speed up the sale of the building, which had previously been the subject of a proposed community takeover – but the sale has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearby St Ann’s Mills is also also earmarked for future sale.
Other buildings on the list include South Pudsey Community Centre on Kent Road. The sale was rubber-stamped by the council’s executive board a year ago.
Shops and a car park on Burley Road will also be sold off – as first reported here. Buildings in Rodley, Wortley and the Hawksworth estate Kirkstall are also due to be sold, according to there list.
It forms part of the council’s Capital Receipts programme, which has generated around £550m since 1990, and is expected to raise a further £133m by 2025.
The document stated:
“In the current financial year capital receipts totalling £44.5m have been realised.
“The Council’s Estate Management Strategy which was approved by Executive Board in November 2021 sets out the principles which guides our estate provision, but one of the key considerations is around ensuring that our estate is well utilised and that surplus properties are released in a timely way.”
Sales that have taken place over the past few months include Skelton Moor Way (the site which includes the Amazon warehouse), The Leonardo and Thorseby buildings in the city centre, and the East Lodge at Temple Newsam.
Among the sites targeted to be sold before the end of the current financial year, in March, are Micklefield House in Rawdon, Bramley Housing Office, and Millshaw Offices.
For the next municipal year – which runs from April 2022 to March 2023 – The council has already agreed to sell land at Sovereign Street, Halton Moor and Seacroft Crescent.
Plans are in place to sell dozens more, including the former Leeds International Pool site, the former Eastmoor School, the ASDA at Holt Park District Centre and Peckfield Business Park.
The plans are set to be discussed at a Leeds City Council Executive Board meeting on Wednesday, February 9.
Sites the council has agreed to sell in 2022/23
– Sovereign Street Plot B
– Miles Hill Primary School & Beckhill Approach
– Waterloo Sidings, access land, Halton Moor
– Seacroft Crescent, Land at, LS14 (Former LIbrary Site) Extra Care
Sites the council wants to sell in 2022/23
Leeds International Pool, Lisbon St
Former Eastmoor School
Southern Quadrant East Leeds Extension Plot C
Clarence Road, Land
Middleton Park Complex
Eastgate & Harewood
St Cecilia Street land, Quarry Hill
Land at South Accommodation Road
Peckfield Balance 3 acres
Windlesford Green, Holmsley Lane, Woodlesford
Waterloo Sidings, access land, Halton Moor
Yorkshire Rider Club, Former, Saxton Gardens
Burley Road Shops & Car Park
Rothwell One Stop Area Office, Marsh Street
South Pudsey Centre
Rathmell Road, Halton Moor
Holt Park District centre (residential sites)
Peckfield Business Park
Harehills Park Cottages
Stanks Gardens, Land at, Swarcliffe
Carr Manor Cottages 1 & 2
Peckfield – Travelling Showman’s Site
Quarry Hill Car Parking Payment
Seacroft Crescent (Overage)
Farrar Lane, Land at Holt Park
Abbey Mills, Kirkstall Road
Hill Crest 32, land adj, Swillington (self build)
Oulton Golf Course Disposal
St Francis Of Assisi Catholic Primary School – Caretakers House
Well Lane, Land at Yeadon
All Saints Road, Rothwell (Self Build)
Summerfield Gardens, Rodley (Self Build)
Holdforth Place, Wortley
Lea Farm Road, Lea Park Road, Hawskworth estate, Kirkstall (Self Build)
Clarence Road (2nd phased payment of 2)
Arena Development Site
Kendall Drive, Halton Moor
Holt Park District Centre ASDA.
Leeds Council: Budget plans announced
Leeds City Council’s annual budget proposals have been released, ahead of “another difficult 12 months”, according to the authority’s leader.
The plans confirm that, although the budget is set to increase by £86.7m on last year, around £16.5m of cuts are still needed to be made to services due to spiralling costs.
According to latest proposals, the authority will have to shed 19 full-time equivalent job posts, but will create 211 new FTE jobs.
It also includes a council tax increase of 2.99 per cent – split between core council tax (1.99 per cent) and the adult social care precept (one per cent). This means council tax for a band D property will increase by £45.24 a year.
The council says it will use the budget to put further support into looked after children, family mental health issues and care for vulnerable adults living at home.
Leeds City Council leader James Lewis (Lab) said:
“The budget report shows how tough the challenge is to balance our books every year, and we face another difficult 12 months ahead with Covid sadly still with us.
“Every year the pressure on council tax increases as it needs to stretch further and further to support more services, especially those for our most vulnerable residents where we have rising demand.
“Across the council we are committed to working with all partners to invest in new flexible ways of delivering services to make them as effective as we can. We especially appreciate the financial investment and support from our NHS partners in Leeds to help us achieve these aims.
“Despite the ongoing difficulties caused by the pandemic, the city has shown strong resilience and we continue to be especially grateful for all our frontline and key workers, charities and volunteers for all their efforts.
“If we keep talking and working together as a city, showing empathy and compassion for all, we can achieve great things and deliver our ambition to make Leeds the best it can be.”
Early plans for the budget had been released in December, but council officers say a number of changes have taken place since then, including lower council tax receipts than had been expected due to “lower projected growth in housebuilding”.
However, a recent reassessment of how companies claim business rates relief is likely to lead to an increase of more than £7m in rates income.
The plans will go before Leeds City Council’s Executive Board on Wednesday, February 9. Provided it is agreed there, it will go for final approval at a full Leeds City Council meeting on Wednesday, February 23.
WLD has been following the council’s financial difficulties – and its impact in West Leeds – through our Cutswatch series.