Get your hands off 'county gems', says councillor

County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

PLANS to flog scores of public sector buildings have been attacked by Labour politicians - who are demanding "Worcestershire is not for sale".

The county council's Labour group says it is planning to lobby against a move by seven different bodies to team up to sell properties.

As your Worcester News revealed two weeks ago, a major project is being planned which will see scores of unneeded properties belonging to councils, the police, NHS and fire service sold.

Labour claim the county council's Conservatives are trying to form a new company that it can sell off to the highest bidder.

It also says the move is too "short term" when better options could include renting out sites instead.

Councillor Richard Udall, from the group, said: "This is nothing more than a vehicle to carry off the county’s crown jewels and silver to form a company that will be sold off cheaply.

"This is daylight robbery, the council-owned farms alone are worth £20m and create an income each year to the county of £300,000.

"This is one of the county’s greatest assets seen as the jewel in crown and envy of other authorities.

"We have managed our estates efficiently and in a profitable way for years and the auditors over the years have only had praise for the council's stewardship.

"To cart off the assets in such a cavalier fashion is reckless and will leave the county penniless."

"We need to make it clear that Worcestershire is not for sale."

The criticism has been rejected by the Conservatives, which says having scores of empty buildings and unused assets is a waste of taxpayers' money.

The project is expected to include Worcester City Council, the NHS trust, West Mercia Police, Redditch Borough Council, the fire service and Warwickshire Police as partners.

By sharing space and selling unwanted assets, it is estimated to save the county council alone £49 million in maintenance costs over the next decade, and lead to a combined £118 million of sales.

Assets like the Guildhall, County Hall and Hindlip will be protected.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader, said: "When I first joined this council there was a strange culture of liking buildings, and trying to keep what we had, almost like some sense of civic pride.

"We estimate this will save us £49 million in revenue alone over the next 10 years and that money will have a direct impact on funding the front line.

"It's an entirely sensible thing to do."

Comments (7)

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5:37pm Wed 26 Mar 14

skychip says...

Not against buildings being sold for the right reasons so long as all the people presently in them dont all end up at County Hall - space is limited there already.
Not against buildings being sold for the right reasons so long as all the people presently in them dont all end up at County Hall - space is limited there already. skychip
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Wed 26 Mar 14

Hwicce says...

I thought Councils were there to run services, not create property empires and run farms.

Sell the lot and then they can concentrate on what people want - bins collected, potholes filled etc.
I thought Councils were there to run services, not create property empires and run farms. Sell the lot and then they can concentrate on what people want - bins collected, potholes filled etc. Hwicce
  • Score: 2

1:04am Thu 27 Mar 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

But they are public property. How dare politicians play Monopoly with people's lives and investments. Let the public decide what each building could be used for as a community asset. Even the children could decide with more wisdom.
But they are public property. How dare politicians play Monopoly with people's lives and investments. Let the public decide what each building could be used for as a community asset. Even the children could decide with more wisdom. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: -1

10:59am Thu 27 Mar 14

stour67 says...

Probably there friends have an interest in these buildings ,like there selling off services to the private sector in the NHS.Brown envelopes come to mind and private meetings.
Probably there friends have an interest in these buildings ,like there selling off services to the private sector in the NHS.Brown envelopes come to mind and private meetings. stour67
  • Score: 1

11:35am Thu 27 Mar 14

green49 says...

skychip says...

Not against buildings being sold for the right reasons so long as all the people presently in them dont all end up at County Hall - space is limited there already.
BAD NEWS skychip, the councty council have put in plans to build a bigger car park, WHY????? because and wait for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!DEFRA are moving to county hall,
Hardman and his mob are doing what they want yet blaming everyone else for the mess its creating, vote them out before they sell off all of our heritage.
skychip says... Not against buildings being sold for the right reasons so long as all the people presently in them dont all end up at County Hall - space is limited there already. BAD NEWS skychip, the councty council have put in plans to build a bigger car park, WHY????? because and wait for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!DEFRA are moving to county hall, Hardman and his mob are doing what they want yet blaming everyone else for the mess its creating, vote them out before they sell off all of our heritage. green49
  • Score: 1

4:48pm Thu 27 Mar 14

bmoc55 says...

What is the use of keeping under utilized or unsused buildings?? Sell them off and put the cash received to work.
What is the use of keeping under utilized or unsused buildings?? Sell them off and put the cash received to work. bmoc55
  • Score: -1

9:45am Fri 28 Mar 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

No objection to sale of assets, but only if proper due diligence and public scrutiny and evaluation has been made. Asset stripping in private interests at public expense would be a disgrace.
No objection to sale of assets, but only if proper due diligence and public scrutiny and evaluation has been made. Asset stripping in private interests at public expense would be a disgrace. DOEPUBLIC
  • Score: 1

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