The City Council has brought in over £30m of income from selling land and property it owns over the last two years – with over £90m more in the pipeline over the next few years.
The council owns over 3,600 property assets with a combined asset value of over £1bn and is undertaking a rationalisation programme to identify whether it remains appropriate to continue to hold particular assets or to sell them.
All councils have a portfolio of different types of assets, ranging from operational land and property that is used to deliver services to the public, to commercial properties that are generally let to third parties for one reason or another. The income from rents or selling properties is increasingly important as Government funding for councils has significantly reduced in recent years, meaning income from other sources can help to keep services running. The City Council is also striving to reduce its debt levels as part of its Together for Nottingham Plan.
Over the last two years, the council has been undertaking an asset rationalisation programme that identifies those properties that are no longer appropriate for it to hold and where best consideration can be achieved through a sale. Commercial properties may no longer be providing sufficient return or be in need of expensive repairs, while the potential social value of community assets will be taken into account when considering possible sales. Over that time, more than £30m of income to the council has been achieved through sales – beyond estimated targets.
This year, the council is focused on a small number of high value asset sales, including The Guildhall, the former Central Library on Angel Row and property at Clifton West, to boost funds further – with an expectation that over £90m could be brought in over the next three to four years.
City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “Selling property and land that we own and no longer require is one of the ways we can bring money into the council at a time when our Government grant is drastically reduced.
“We are not selling things in an unplanned way – it is properly assessed and we seek to sell it for as much as possible, unless they are community assets where there is some social value to be gained. Most of the properties that bring in larger amounts are commercial properties rather than community assets.”
The council’s asset rationalisation programme was discussed by its Audit Committee on Friday 24 June.