Public Sector Property

31.03.16

EXCLUSIVE: Public land disposal scheme leads to just 6 sales

A scheme to reduce government estate by allowing members of the public to request surplus government-owned land to be put up for sale has led to just six sales since it was introduced in January 2014, FoI requests by PSE show.

The Right to Contest is a scheme which allows businesses, local authorities and members of the public to challenge the government about land they own which is potentially surplus or redundant or could be put to better economic use.

The Cabinet Office has received 19 Strand One Right to Contest applications, which apply to central government-owned land, of which five have led to land being declared wholly or partially surplus.

Strand Two applications, made to the Department of Communities and Local Government for local land and property, have resulted in just one successful ‘direction to dispose’ out of 70 applications, for land north east of Knight’s Lane, Tiddington, under the Stratford-on-Avon local authority.

Of the other cases, 35 had direct disposal refused, 17 were decided ‘other’ for reasons such as the land being privately owned, the case being transferred to the Cabinet Office and the case being put on review for 3-6 months. Thirteen cases are still live and four were withdrawn.

Among the Strand One applications, the remaining 14 sites were deemed essential to operations or the application was declared out of scope. These include an apparent joke application for ‘the whole of the UK’ to be deemed surplus.

The five national government sites that were declared surplus are part of Dulwich Hospital, Kenmore Clinic in Harrow, land at Canada Docks in Liverpool and Ministry of Justice properties at Peace Mills Site in Nottingham and Kirklevington Grange Prison in Cleveland.

At the launch of the State of the Estate in 2014-15 report, Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock said that the government had set a target of reducing its offices by 75% in order to cut the government deficit before 2023 and urged members of the public to get involved using the scheme.

A government spokesman said: “The Housing and Planning Bill aims to increase the transparency and accountability of local authority land holdings, making it easier for the public to identify surplus land.”

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of community organisations network Locality, wrote for the most recent edition of PSE about the Housing and Planning Bill.

(Image c. Clive Gee from PA Images.)

Comments

Craig Harrison   02/06/2016 at 12:55

I completed a "right to contest" application for surplus land on the HMP Kirklevington Grange site and got fobbed off with some story about only selling the entire plot as opposed to manageable packages, apparently the whole plot was being put on the market early in 2016.....we're now almost halfway through the year and nothing

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Council strips contract from NHS trusts and hands it to Virgin after High Court row

18/10/2018Council strips contract from NHS trusts and hands it to Virgin after High Court row

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has awarded a controversial £104m healthcare contract to Virgin Care for the second time after a hearing in... more >
Twelve councils given first share of £400m fund to remove unsafe tower block cladding

18/10/2018Twelve councils given first share of £400m fund to remove unsafe tower block cladding

The government has released the first £248m share of funding for councils to start removing unsafe cladding from their high-rise tower bloc... more >
Nottingham council in HS2 partnership to deliver ‘once in a generation’ opportunity

18/10/2018Nottingham council in HS2 partnership to deliver ‘once in a generation’ opportunity

Nottingham County Council has agreed to go into partnership with a regeneration specialist to prepare the region for the new East Midlands HS2 st... more >

comment

Inspiring leadership in social value

15/10/2018Inspiring leadership in social value

We have learned a lot since the last National Social Value Conference, with many organisations both in the public and private sectors now embeddi... more >
Is fair funding possible, or pie in the sky?

15/10/2018Is fair funding possible, or pie in the sky?

David Phillips, associate director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, discusses the current health of local government finance, and how a bette... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

interviews

Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >
Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

06/08/2018Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

Michael King first joined the Local Government Ombudsman service back in 2004 as deputy ombudsman. At the start of 2017, he was appointed as the ... more >
Helping a city understand itself

06/08/2018Helping a city understand itself

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The urban landscape is changing. How can local authorities keep up with citizen behaviour? Stephen Leece, managing directo... more >

public sector focus

View all News
Council strips contract from NHS trusts and hands it to Virgin after High Court row

18/10/2018Council strips contract from NHS trusts and hands it to Virgin after High Court row

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has awarded a controversial £104m healthcare contract to Virgin Care for the second time after a hearing in the High Court ordered a re-evaluation of the dec... more >
Twelve councils given first share of £400m fund to remove unsafe tower block cladding

18/10/2018Twelve councils given first share of £400m fund to remove unsafe tower block cladding

The government has released the first £248m share of funding for councils to start removing unsafe cladding from their high-rise tower blocks. Twelve local authorities and 31 housing a... more >

the raven's daily blog

What cities should become

15/10/2018What cities should become

Tom Leaver, project manager at Future Cities Catapult, examines the rationale behind the creation of the City Data Sharing Toolkit, and explores how this is driving a seismic shift in how cities evolve into our data-rich future. We’re used to big-screen sci-fi future cities being dystopian monoliths to everything wrong with the worl... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >