WYRE Forest Council made more than £2.2m from selling land and properties across the district between 2014 and 2018, according to new research.

Data gathered by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that Wyre Forest District Council sold 32 spaces over the four year period for a total of £2.2m.

Sales included Dropping Wells Farm in Bewdley for £500,000, Stourport Sports Centre for the same sum, £270,000 for land at Vale Road Car Park and £75,000 for the chapel at Kidderminster Cemetery.

According to the research, Worcestershire County Council also made more than £1.3m through selling assets in Wyre Forest in the same period.

This included the former Blakebrook School in Kidderminster, which sold for £1.1m, and nearby buildings for £256,000.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that councils across the country had used the money made from the sale of assets to fund staff redundancies.

However, both Wyre Forest and Worcestershire Councils said this wasn't the case locally.

Councillor Chris Rogers, cabinet member for economic regeneration and planning, said: “We have a proactive and positive approach to meeting the challenges presented by changes to local government funding running in parallel with developing the economic prosperity of the area.

“Since 2014 we have invested over £950,000 into our Evergreen Investment Fund after selectively disposing of assets for new housing or to support the growth of local businesses.

"The fund was set-up to specifically reinvest the capital proceeds from selling assets into new developments in the district to generate revenue that can be spent on protecting frontline services.

"One of our investments includes the New Street temporary accommodation in Stourport. The facility gives homeless people a safe place to sleep, whilst getting access to vital support services and being cost effective for the council.

“Before 2014, proceeds from selling assets were reinvested into capital schemes on a generic basis.

"One of those schemes used funds raised from selling assets to fund the development of the council’s Wyre Forest House headquarters.

"This project saved the council £500,000 year on year running costs after moving staff from Duke House and Coventry Street, Kidderminster and the Civic Centre in Stourport-on-Severn.

“Our localism initiative has also seen assets move over to community groups, parish and town councils. This gives local groups the opportunity to take control of the day to day management of services or assets - with greater freedom to enhance and adapt them to best suit local needs - while delivering efficiencies for the district.

“None of the capital proceeds from selling these assets have been used to fund redundancy payments.”

A county council spokesperson added: "The council plans to use around £4m from the sale of surplus assets over 2018/19 and the next two years to support the one-off revenue costs of change, although we are not anticipating using any of these monies to fund redundancy costs."

They added: "In total the council anticipates receiving over £20m from sale of surplus assets over this period with the majority of this money being used to reinvest in new capital improvements across Worcestershire."

Visit council-sell-off.thebureauinvestigates.com for more.