Council prepares to sell off unneeded assets

From industrial estates to cafes, shops and offices and even former town halls – over many years Wirral Council has become the owner of numerous different properties around the borough.

Now a list of assets has been drawn up to help ensure the council only owns properties which it needs to – and those which are not required are among the ones being prepared for proposed sale.

The current list of assets are properties which are now being recommended to be declared surplus to the council’s needs and a report on the Strategic Asset Disposals Programme to the Policy and Resources (P&R) Committee recommends the authority sell these unneeded assets for the best possible price.

The five-year strategic property asset disposal programme will help the council ensure its budget is sustainable in the long term.

Sale of unneeded assets was also one of the requirements from the Government when the council asked for permission to use capital monies to help with pressures on the authority’s budget over the last few years. 

Known as “capitalisation”, this was granted by the Department of Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and allowed the council to use money usually allocated for infrastructure projects or one-off assets to cover its day-to-day operating costs (known as revenue).

An asset review has identified those buildings and pieces of land which are no longer needed to deliver a service, are vacant following the council’s office rationalisation programme, are vacant with development potential or those assets which are no longer bringing in an income, or which will require major investment to keep them in use.

Properties identified for sale include the Oaklands Outdoor Centre in North Wales which was previously used as an outdoor education centre with accommodation operated by Edsential, the educational community interested company part-owned by the council.

Others include the site of the former Seacombe library which has relocated to Seacombe Childrens Centre, and Holborn Square Industrial Estate which was built in an old quarry in 1981 and comprises of 12 industrial units.

There are also proposals to market the site of the former Bebington Town Hall, including the annexe and car park, Coronation Gardens Café in West Kirby and agricultural land in Meols. Former council offices, the Hamilton Building in Birkenhead, the site of Clare Mount Specialist Sports College in Moreton and the former Liscard Municipal Offices and adjacent car park have also been listed in the report for possible sale.

The report also says It is likely that, through further rationalisation, asset reviews, service reviews and regeneration initiatives that other assets will become available for disposal in the future.

The council’s P&R Committee will consider the recommendations in the report when it meets on 12 July.

Image: Holborn Square Industrial Estate in Tranmere, one of the assets identified for sale. Credit: GOOGLE

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