Brighton and Hove City Council has used extra than £2million from the sale of a part of its assets portfolio to fund loads of redundancies in the face of government cuts.
As properly as its metropolis halls, libraries and museums, the council owns hundreds of commercial properties, from seafront arch shops to park cafes and swathes of downland.
New figures received by the Bureau of Local Journalism published today display that in Brighton and Hove, the council made £31.8million from promoting off assets from April 2014 to September closing year.
Most became from the 2017 sale of the Grade II listed Kings House for extra than £26million to luxury assets developers after the council moved its dwindling workforce from Kings House to a modernised Hove Town Hall. It had first been put in the marketplace in 2014 for £10million.
Of the proceeds from all belongings sales, £17.38million become allotted for service reforms, which includes £2.68million spent on or earmarked for restructure and redundancies. The relaxation become spent on enhancing the council’s virtual systems and website, and different carrier modernisations.
£1.37million become spent on redundancies in 2016/17, not anything the subsequent year and the council plans to spend £1.3million in 2019/20.
During this time, 221 humans have been made redundant, maximum in 2016/17 whilst 156 people misplaced their jobs. All but one of these have been voluntary redundancies.
Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle stated: “Any cash made from the sale of council houses have to be reinvested in more properties or other capital initiatives.
“Councils have historically trusted residences being donated to them and if we are seen to be simply promoting them off I suppose it’d be a breach of accept as true with.
“This form of association with capital price range being used in an operational way, even though might be technically prison I truly don’t suppose follows the spirit of the law.
“And to make subjects worse the Conservatives in Brighton and Hove want to reduce lots of pounds from the price range just to store some quid on taxpayers payments leading to greater redundancies and much less offerings
“This is not just a Brighton and Hove problem, councils throughout the usa are struggling after 9 long years of austerity and it seems they’re now resorting to selling the family silver to make ends meet.”
Mark Turner, department secretary of GMB Sussex, said that the council’s homecare carrier, nurseries and parks had been a number of the areas worst hit via redundancies in this era.
“These are Tory critical authorities cuts. In the case of Brighton and Hove, it doesn’t be counted which specific group is in power, they could were left with cuts.
“It’s a poisoned chalice and we are still going through that nowadays.
“You can best promote the circle of relatives silver as soon as, and when you’ve spent it, it’s gone. The government has forced neighborhood councils to try this under austerity. But Brighton hasn’t needed to sell off as a good deal as a few government.
“What’s additionally going on now is there are offerings feeling the pressure and are having an immediate impact on the public, like CityClean. Adult social care and kids’s services are coming to a pinch factor.”
In 2014, a brand new strategy become drawn as much as manage its belongings and land, greater than 630 industrial properties which presently carry in an annual earnings of greater than £10million.
By then, austerity changed into in complete swing and as well as investing in virtual transformation and other modernisation, the council said it’d also be the usage of money from property sales to “manipulate staffing modifications” – i.E. Redundancies.
Previously, all money from income of belongings had to be used for capital spending – but new guidelines introduced in from March 2016 allowed councils to spend a few on reforming services, such as personnel restructuring.
As nicely as selling off underperforming houses, the council is likewise developing a fund to shop for new business homes as a way to deliver it a better fee of return.
In a June 2016 file, officers stated: “Owing to contemporary marketplace conditions, the council is inside the manner of gathering a fund for re-investment to enable the council to behave in time with the market whilst investment possibilities gift themselves.
“The council is working to identify in addition belongings which can be underperforming to contribute in the direction of this fund and operating on an funding strategy for the identity and reinvestment of funds.”
Earlier this year, the council bought Phoenix House in West Street for £6.8million, saying it anticipated the profits to be more than that obtained from the economic residences it had already sold off.
What’s been bought?
Kings House, former council workplaces in Grand Avenue, Hove – sold 18 October 2017 for £26.15million to Mortar Nova Grand Avenue LLP
18 Market Street, retail unit in The Lanes, previously Starbucks – sold 31 July 2014 for £six hundred,000 to Lyons Investment Limited, ring-fenced for investment in “better grade investment residences”
Land at rear Grange Meadows off Ovingdean Road – sold 23 January 2015 for £12,500 to Richard and Elizabeth Carpenter
Part of Devils Dyke Farm – six acres including a reservoir offered on three Feburary 2015 for £25,000 to Christopher Donald Williams, who changed into already farming there as a tenant. Money ringfenced to be used inside the Stanmer Park mission.
2 Boundary Road, empty save with a flat above – offered on 30 April 2015 for £a hundred and eighty,000 to Brighton & Hove Properties Ltd. Hardwick Hartley successfully carried out for permission to transform it into residences.
Land at Eastbrook Farm Allotments, three.7acres of land, in the main disused however home to The Wood Store, outside city boundary in Southwick- offered on 1 October 2015 to £three.7million to Tate Brothers Limited, owners of Newhaven’s Paradise Park
28 York Place, compulsorily bought in 1983 from Trinity College, Cambridge for £83,000 as a part of a street scheme which was by no means applied. Previously leased to Corridor Gallery on a peppercorn rent and earlier than that, squatters – bought on 24 February 2017 for £476,500 to Mr Kaie Li and Mrs Quin Lu.
Chalk Pit south of High Point – bought on 21 July 2016 for £30,000 to Sheila Onslow Marks
Park Wall Farm – the farm become allow to a tenant farmer and split into 3 special sites following the farmer’s demise. One part became let to the farmer’s son and daughter and one part become sold to be used as a farm on 15 September 2016 for £303,100 to Stephen and Rosaline Toomey.
The 0.33 element, forty one and forty two Park Wall Cottages, has been bought challenge to making plans permission, with approval for their demolition and the construction of scholar housing given final month. The sale will complete as soon as the segment 106 settlement has been finalised. The proceeds of each income might be used for the healing of Stanmer Park.
11 Little East Street – sold on 17 October 2016 for £339,845 to Joeseph Samuel Muscat
Garden land at rear ninety one Braeside Avenue bought on 27 February 2017 for £3,550 to Keith and Brendan Rummery, who personal variety ninety one.
St David’s Hall in Whitehawk Road – a network asset transferred free of charge to St David’s Hall
The council has also agreed to sell run-down places of work in Belmont Street used by artists, such as Same Sky, the innovative force in the back of Burning the Clocks and the Children’s Parade. Tenants have been supplied relocation to New England House. The council stated it needed to either promote the workplaces or hike the rents extensively to cover critical repairs. They are actually being offered to a developer who desires to construct houses there.
What hasn’t been sold?
In 2015, the Labour management revealed plans to promote Hove Library, a indexed building built the usage of cash donated by means of Victorian philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and move the provider to Hove Museum.
Labour – and council officials – argued that the fee of walking the library turned into too excessive and stated if it wasn’t bought, seven department libraries inside the town’s suburbs would have to close.
However, the plans were met with an outcry, and the Greens and Tories joined forces to thwart the sale. In 2016, a compromise became reached wherein part of the library might be leased to a nursery, to the British and Irish Modern Music Institute, and a restaurant. The seven department libraries are still strolling.
The Greens and Tories teamed up over again the subsequent yr to halt the sale of two pieces of downland at Poynings and Plumpton Hill.
Labour warned that scrapping the sale ought to placed a £3.Eight million Heritage Lottery Fund supply toward the £5.Eighty three million Stanmer Park mission at hazard, because the council turned into counting on the proceeds to help fund its anticipated contribution of £1.42 million.