Saturday, May 28, 2022
UK

Slough Council to reveal the properties it wants to sell

Slough properties

The council is drafting a strategy to sell up to $753.78m-worth of its properties and land, in order to make its $954.78m borrowing debt ‘more manageable’

Slough Council will soon reveal which of its over 6,000 assets will be sold, as it seeks to plug a £760m ($954.78m) financial gap.

The Labour-run council is drafting a strategy to sell up to £600m-worth ($753.78m) of its properties and land, in order to make its £760m ($954.78m) borrowing debt ‘more manageable’ and reduce its £479m ($601.77m) black hole.

Last year, senior councillors agreed to draft in a team of ‘external specialists’ called Avison Young to deal with the operational aspects of disposing of the assets.

Speaking at an extraordinary audit and governance meeting, chief finance officer Steven Mair said Avison Young will be bringing in their strategy by the end of June on the best way to sell off the council’s assets.

At the meeting last Thursday Richard West, the council’s executive director of community and customers, said: We are very close to having a final position and a strategy for sale, but we are weeks away. He also said any properties or land that are considered ‘surplus’ will be reviewed by councillors if they should be sold or not.

Council leader James Swindlehurst previously said they will be selling their non-operational assets bought outside the borough worth up to £100m ($125.63m).

At the meeting, Councillor Safdar Ali asked if assets that bring no income to the council, such as the Thames Valley University site, should be sold first rather than properties that bring in some income. West said each asset needs to be assessed and a business case to be brought forward but any asset that brings in no income will be ‘easier’ to be considered ‘surplus’ properties or land.

Cllr Ali also suggested if the council could let its empty land on a temporary basis, so some income is coming into the council until the sale. However, he was told that could add an ‘encumbrance’ on a property that could dissuade buyers from purchasing it.

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