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Council reveals list of assets it could sell to help balance budget

Wednesday, 28 February 2024 17:49

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter & Stuart Clarkson, Rombalds Radio

The planned sale of over 150 Bradford Council-owned buildings and assets has been compared to "selling the family silver" and something future generations would "curse" the authority for.

Bradford Council has this week revealed a list of assets that it proposes to sell in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy.

The list includes car parks, former schools and potential housing sites throughout the district.

With some properties the Council holds the freehold, but other businesses own the leasehold on a long term basis.

These properties include the Picture House and Airedale Shopping Centre in Keighley, The Arcade and Moors Shopping Centre in Ilkley, two former schools in Silsden and the Low Wood Activity Centre between Silsden and Riddlesden.

You can see the full list below.

Under local Government rules, Councils cannot use the sale of property to fund services. But with Bradford Council facing potential bankruptcy, the authority has asked Government to agree to a “capitalisation direction” in an attempt to balance its budget.

This would allow the Council to use income from property sales to plug holes in its budgets, such as in Children’s Services.

It would also require the Authority to borrow money to avoid bankruptcy.

On Tuesday the Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee discussed the list of assets during a discussion on finances.

Members were told the list was the “first phase” of Council owned assets that would be sold in a bid to raise £60m over two years.

Councillor Brendan Stubbs (Lib Dem, Eccleshill) said: “We are getting rid of things we’d prefer to keep, but can’t.”

Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “It can take some time to get assets ready for disposal.

“If we are looking to sell a housing site, we need to get planning permission first to increase the value of the land. We have an obligation to get the best value for the land we sell.”

Councillor David Green (Lab, Wibsey), is the former leader of Bradford Council. He said: “I know the Government is insisting we look at potential sale of assets, which is not something any of us in this room want to do. But some assets we are forced to sell produce an income.

“We might get £1m for a building or piece of land, but we might be getting £8,000 a year income from leasing that land.

“In the long term the Council is potentially losing money, as well as losing a lever for regeneration.

“If we own a site we can use it for any future vision for the District.

“The biggest challenge we’ve had in the past is that compared to other Councils, Bradford Council doesn’t own that much property that could help with regeneration.

“I’m concerned we’re being forced by Government into selling land that will lead to us losing out on long term income and no longer having the leverage to carry out what we want to do as a Council.”

Joanne Hyde, Director for Corporate Resources, said the Council would look at each property and decide whether they should be retained or sold, but added: “If any of these properties are taken off the list and are not sold, we’d have to replace them with something else.”

Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “Everything Government is saying to Councils now is ‘use your reserves. If you don’t have any reserves sell your assets.’

“That is the policy of the Government. We all recognise it is not a long-term way of funding local authorities.”

Cllr Green said: “It feels like we are selling the family silver – which some of these assets could prove to be.

“People will be going through this list with a fine-toothed comb.

“The Government isn’t looking beyond the next few years, but the Council has the responsibility not just for the next couple of years but to look to the next 20 or so years.

“The assets the Government believes should be sold now are ones that people in 20 years time, be they Councillors, officers or members of the public, will be cursing us for selling.

“The biggest worry is the loss of future opportunities. It is important we keep public ownership of assets wherever possible.”

Cllr Hinchcliffe added: “If you are a Council in a more affluent part of the country you can make a lot more from selling fewer properties. I was talking to a Council leader from another part of the country yesterday and they said they had sold a single building for £12m.

“With property prices in Bradford the way they are we are at a double disadvantage.”

Cllr Stubbs said: “The Government direction of travel for Councils is for them to spend reserves and reduce services to the point where Councils only provide statutory services.

“Is there any way in this discussion with Government about what we can and can’t keep where we can ask them to see beyond two or three years? Is there any understanding of that from Government?”

Chair of the Committee Councillor Nazam Azam (Lab, City) said the decisions that faced Council officers and bosses in the coming months were hugely difficult ones, adding: “I don’t think any of us would be putting our names forward to make such decisions.”

A Bradford Council spokesman told the LDRS: “The asset disposal programme is part of the Council’s plan to achieve financial sustainability.  The intention is to initially generate £60M during 2024/5 and 2025/6 with further work during this period to bring forward more disposal opportunities for either incorporation into this time frame or for future years.

“This list has been drawn up after an initial review of the Council’s Property interests.  Each asset will be reviewed as to whether they should be disposed of or retained, so no decision has yet been made.

“For some properties on the list where the Council owns the freehold, there is often a separate leasehold on the property owned by another party.  In simple terms, the council might own the land the building is on, but someone else occupies the building itself.  In these cases, the tenants should not notice a change.”

After the meeting a Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “Councils are ultimately responsible for their own finances, but we stand ready to talk to any council concerned about its financial position.

“We have engaged with the sector over options to allow councils greater financial flexibilities whilst ensuring every penny of taxpayer money is well-spent, and are carefully considering what proportionate safeguards are needed.”

The list of Bradford Council assets in our area that have been proposed for sale

ILKLEY AND WHARFEDALE WARDS

  • Little Lane, Ilkley, Ilkley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, House
  • 59971 & 519 The Moors & Dalesway House, Ilkley – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • The Arcade, Ilkley – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Ilkley Abattoir, Ilkley – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Premises
  • Low Hall Road – Garage Site, Wharfedale – Freehold, Investment, Lock-up Garage Site

CRAVEN WARD

  • Dene Grove – Grazing Land, Craven – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Chapel Street Addingham, Craven – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Church Street/Main Street, Craven – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Hothfield Junior School, Silsden, Craven – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Former School
  • Aire View Infant School, Silsden, Craven – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Former School
  • Elliott Street Land, Silsden, Craven – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • Low Wood Activity Centre, Craven – Freehold, Investment, Leisure

WORTH VALLEY

  • Colne Road Car Park, Worth Valley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Riverside Hotel & Resturant, Worth Valley – Freehold, Investment, Hotel

KEIGHLEY WARDS

  • Airedale Shopping Centre, Keighley Central – Ground Lease Investment, Freehold interest in shopping centre
  • The Picture House, Keighley Central – Freehold, Investment, Leisure
  • Rix house (24 Arncliffe Rd, Keighley), Keighley West – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Care home
  • Whinfield Drive, Keighley, Keighley West – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Former Bronte School Playing Fields, Keighley, Keighley West – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Carr Bank, Riddlesden, Keighley, Keighley East – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Former Branshaw Special School, Keighley West – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • 179 and 59 Braithwaite Avenue/North Dean Road, K, Keighley West – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Hainworth Road, Keighley, Keighley East – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • North Dene Road, Keighley West – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Exley Road/Oakworth Road, Keighley, Keighley West – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Holmewood EPH, Fell Lane, Keighley, Keighley West – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • 68 North Street, Keighley Central – Freehold, Investment, Retail

 

Other Bradford Council sites across the District proposed for sale

  • Ferniehurst Farm, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • North Hall Farm, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Park Hill Farm, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Crow Trees Farm – Grazing Land, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Simpson Green Farm, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Bottoms Farm, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • North Street Farm, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • St Leonards Farm, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Land House Farm, Clayton and Fairweather Green – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Ford House Farm 1, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Hollins Hill Farm, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Birk Hill Farm, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Low Ash Farm, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Hawkstone Farm, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Building
  • Ripley Street Grazing Land, Thornton and Allerton – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Roydsdale Way – Land, Tong – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Cliffe House Farm, Bingley Rural – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Cottingley Hall Farm, Shipley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Holme Bank Farm – Grazing Land, Tong – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Hollowfields Beck – Grazing Land, Tong – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Walk Hill Farm, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Low Laithe Farm – Agricultural Land, Bingley Rural – Freehold, Investment, Agricultural Land
  • Land at Hollowfields Beck, Tong – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Agricultural Land
  • Hillam Road – Car Park & Storage Land, Bolton and Undercliffe – Freehold, Investment, Car Park
  • Peckover Street Car Parks, City Ward – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Wharf Street, Shipley, Car Park, Shipley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Wellington Street Car Park, City Ward – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Burnett Street, City – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Pine Street, City – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Agar Street, Toller – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Skirrow Street, Bingley Rural – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Victor Street Car Park, Manningham – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Killinghall Road, Bolton and Undercliffe – Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • Broadstone Way/Tong Street, Tong – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Car Park
  • The Willows, 2a Hall Road, Idle, Eccleshill – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Care home
  • Weaver Court (Moorfield Pl, Idlecroft Rd), Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Care home
  • Woodward Court, Allerton, Thornton and Allerton – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Care home
  • Valley View Childrens Home, Lister Lane, Bolton and Undercliffe – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Care home
  • Thompson Court, Morton Lane, Crossflatts, Bingley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Care home
  • Hammerton Street – Filling Station, Bowling and Barkerend – Freehold, Investment, Commercial Garage
  • Paley Road Private Caravan Park, Bowling and Barkerend – Freehold, Investment, Commercial Land
  • Ivebridge House – Ground Lease – Block, City – Freehold, Investment, Commercial Land
  • Salts Wharf, Shipley – Freehold, Investment, Commercial Land
  • Parry Lane (Regen Sale), Bowling and Barkerend – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Employment Land
  • Exchange Court/Bridge Street Car park, City – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Employment Land
  • Leeds Airport Employment Hub – Interes, Leeds – Freehold, Employment Land, Employment Land
  • Ian Clough Hall, Baildon, Baildon – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Former library
  • Rhodesway Pool, Oaks Lane, Clayton and Fairweather Green – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Former pool
  • Former Cullingworth Village Hall, Bingley Rural – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Former village hall
  • Cedar Court Hotel Site, Wibsey, Long Leasehol Investment, Freehold interest in hotel
  • Eurocam Technology Park Factory Site, Little Horton – Long leasehold Investment, Freehold interest in Industrial
  • Drop Kick Public House, Royds – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Freehold interest in pub
  • Asda Superstore Site, Shipley – Ground Lease Investment, Freehold interest in supermarket
  • 50847 & 508 part 1 Cemetery Road, Great Horton – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Ginnel
  • Stairfoot Farm, Cottingley Cliffe Road, B, Shipley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, House & Farm
  • Highfield Road/Doctor Hill, Idle, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, House & land
  • Units 1-5 Hockney Road, Manningham – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Industrial
  • Canal Road/Hillam Road – Land, Bolton and Undercliffe – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Land
  • Mount Street Security Depot, Bowling and Barkerend – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Land
  • Thornton Road Light Industrial Site, City – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Land
  • Bolton Lane Industrial Land, Bolton and Undercliffe – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Land
  • Dockfield Road, 124 – Unit 1, Windhill and Wrose – Long Leasehol Investment, Industrial Premises
  • Hillam Road Industrial Premises, Bolton and Undercliffe – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Premises
  • Perseverance Mills, Windhill and Wrose – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Premises
  • The Engine House, Shipley – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Premises
  • Festival Building, Shipley – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Premises
  • Dockfield Road, 124 – Unit 2, Windhill and Wrose – Freehold, Investment, Industrial Premises
  • Arkwright Recreation Ground – part, Bowling and Barkerend – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Land
  • The Broadway – Cinema Site, City – Freehold, Investment, Leisure
  • Dobrudden Farm Caravan Site, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Leisure
  • Ghyllbeck Driving Range, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Leisure
  • Calverley Golf Course, Outside Bradford (Calverley & Farsley Ward) – Freehold, Investment, Leisure
  • Lamb Springs Farm Golf Club Site, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Leisure
  • Bradford Moor Golf Club Land & Building, Bowling and Barkerend – Long Leasehol Investment, Leisure
  • Prince of Wales Lodge, Bingley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Lodge
  • Thornton Cemetery Lodge, Thornton, Thornton and Allerton – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Lodge
  • Orbic Works, Shipley – Freehold, Investment, Offices
  • Merchants Quay, Shipley – Long Leasehol Investment, Offices
  • Bradley House, Bingley – Freehold, Investment, Offices
  • Walker House, Sunbridge Road, City – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Offices
  • Glyde House, City – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Offices/leisure
  • Manningham Manor House, Manningham – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential
  • Land at Merrivale Road, Allerton, Thornton and Allerton – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Cliffe Lane West, Baildon, Baildon – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Green Lane, Baildon, Baildon – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Harrogate Road, Greengates, Eccleshill – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Lynfield Drive, Daisy Hill, Toller – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Highbridge Terrace, West Bowling, Little Horton – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • New Lane, Laisterdyke, Bradford Moor – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Junction with Park Road, Manchester Ro, City – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Abb Scott Lane, Low Moor, Royds – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Brafferton Arbor, Buttershaw, Royds – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Bowman Road, Wibsey, Wibsey – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Thornton Road, Thornton and Allerton – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Hill Top Road, Thornton and Allerton – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Hill Top Road, near Ring O’ Bells, Thornton and Allerton – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Proctor Street playing fields, off Tong St, Tong – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Ned Lane, Holmewood, Bradford, Tong – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Thornton Road, Leaventhorpe, Thornton and Allerton – Freehold, Housing sites, Residential Development Land
  • Woodside Road, Wyke, Wyke – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • Saltaire – Former Family Centre, Shipley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • North Brook Street, Valley Road, City – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • Wrose Brow Road Land (Lift covenant), Windhill and Wrose – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • Ransom Strip at Fenwick Drive, Royds – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • Access to Land at Delph Hill, Royds – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • Former Canterbury Youth Centre, 1 Aru, Little Horton – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • Land at Thornton View Road, Clayton and Fairweather Green – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Residential Development Land
  • Clayton Lane Land, City – Freehold, Investment, Residential Land
  • Belgrave Road, 36 – Caretakers House, Bingley – Freehold, Investment, Residential Property
  • Market Street, 2 – 10, Shipley – Long Leasehol Investment, Retail
  • A C W Garden Centre, Bolton and Undercliffe – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Main Street, 133 – 135, Bingley – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Chapel Lane, 7-9, Bingley – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Northgate, 6, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Browgate, 1, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Apperley Lane – Shop & Accommodation, Idle and Thackley – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Chapel Lane, 11, Bingley – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Rawson Road, 11, City – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Towngate Rooms, Baildon – Freehold, Investment, Retail
  • Canal Road – Car Sales Site, Bolton and Undercliffe – Freehold, Investment, Retail Land
  • Bingley Town Hall, Baths & depot, Bingley – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Town Hall
  • Gaisby Field, Windhill and Wrose – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Vacant Land
  • Holme Top Street Residential Land, Little Horton – Freehold, Investment, Vacant Land
  • Dawson Lane, Tong – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Verge
  • Part Captain Street Land, City – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Verge
  • 207 Cutler Heights Lane – Freehold, Investment, retail & bars/nightclubs
  • Windsor Baths, City – Freehold, Investment, developmen
  • Norman Lodge, Odsall – Freehold, Surplus Asset, Care Home

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