Harrogate council makes £3.5m in property sell-off, new figures show

Harrogate Borough Council made more than £3.5million from selling property it owned between 2014-2018, new figures show.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 5:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 9:48 am
Scottsdale House, which Harrogate Borough Council sold in 2018.

An investigation undertaken by the Huffington Post and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that councils around the UK have made a combined £9.1billion from the sale of 12,000 public spaces in that time.

The research found that Harrogate Borough Council had made £3,548,396 off of five property sales in that time.

More than half of Harrogate's total figure was made up of the sale of Scottsdale House, which council off-loaded last year for £1.9m.

The council also made £1m for selling its Victoria Park House offices in 2016.

The council's other sales between 2014-2018 included a block of land at Pannal (£352,750), Grove Road cemetery lodge (£283,146), and a sliver of land on Queen Street, Ripon (£12,500).

The council's former headquarters, Crescent Gardens, wasn't included in the investigation's figures because its sale has not yet been finalised, with its completion subject to a successful planning application by proposed developer Adam Thorpe.

Leader of the council, Richard Cooper, said selling off Harrogate's unused offices had been a "pragmatic" move by the council, triggered by the move to the council's new Civic Centre headquarters.

"I was interested to read about how other councils have dealt with their property and buildings," Coun Cooper said.

"We have taken a pragmatic view and have sold off unused office space when we moved in to our new Civic Centre over a year ago.

"Not only are we able to spend the money from those sales on retaining and improving services, we have also saved the taxpayer nearly £1m by moving from five old buildings into one new one.

"That is money we are investing in our parks and gardens, swimming pools and leisure centres."

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporting Service