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Mass public sector buildings sell-off revealed
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.
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."
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