This post was first published by My London on 14/03/2019.
Croydon Council has made more than £10 million by selling property and land
Notable assets sold include Addington Palace Golf Club for £1 million and West Croydon Bus Garage for £560,000.
Croydon Council has sold off property valued at more than £10 million in recent years, an investigation has found.
Between 2014 and 2018 the authority sold 32 plots for a total of £10,589,146.
The council says the money helped to “protect jobs, frontline survives and allow for much-needed local homes”.
Notable assets sold include former council offices for £4,070,000, Addington Palace Golf Club for £1 million and West Croydon Bus Garage for £560,000.
The local government funding crisis has become so dire that councils are being forced to sell thousands of public spaces and assets.
Other property sold includes the Addington Hills cooling station for £280,000 in 2018.
Land adjacent to Auckland Rise, Church Road and Sylvan Hill, in Upper Norwood, brought in £1,327,071 in 2018, while land south of 73-131 Marston Way, also in Upper Norwood, was sold for £948,156 the same year.
More than £850,000 was made by selling land east of Warbank Crescent, in New Addington, and a further £675,889 brought in by selling land north of 20-20c Oxford Road, in Upper Norwood.
It was also found that the council sold six areas of land to developers for just £1 each.
Previously, money made from selling public assets could only be used to fund the cost of buying new ones.
But in April 2016, the then Chancellor George Osborne relaxed the rules to allow local authorities to spend the proceeds on cost-cutting measures, such as sharing back-office functions with other authorities, investing in new technology or other reforms which have upfront costs but reduce spending in the long-term.
The Bureau investigation, called Sold From Under You , found that 64 councils in England have spent a total of £381 million made from property sales using the new freedom since the policy came into effect.
Almost a third of that – £115 million – was spent on making people redundant.
The data shows that more than 12,000 spaces have been sold since the 2014/15 financial year, raising a total of £9.1 billion in sold property.
The report reads: “The local government funding crisis has become so dire that councils are being forced to sell thousands of public spaces, such as libraries, community centres and playgrounds.
“In a double blow to communities, some local authorities are using the money raised from selling off buildings and land to pay for hundreds of redundancies, including in vital frontline services.”
It added: “Councils are being forced to do whatever they can to stay afloat and keep services running, following eight years of increasingly harsh cuts to their budgets.”
What has the council got to say?
A Croydon Council spokesman said: “The money we get from responsibly selling some assets and council land has helped us to protect jobs, maintain frontline services for Croydon people and allow for much-needed local homes.
“With demand for council services continuing to rise while the Government continues to cut our grants, our medium-term financial planning is about balancing the books while making best use of all our available resources.”