Cabinet to discuss sale of assets
The sale of four council assets is to be discussed by Hastings Borough Council's Cabinet on Monday 7 August.
The assets - 12/13 York Buildings, land at Upper Wilting Farm, land at rear of 419 to 447 Bexhill Road and Mayfield E - are expected to bring in around £3m, which would be reinvested into funding the capital programme and reducing external borrowing.
One of the recommendations of the Local Government Association Finance Peer report was that the council should make changes so that assets can be sold as urgently as possible to help address the council's financial situation.
12/13 York Buildings is a grade II listed building with a retail area on the ground floor plus associated basement storage and three upper floors converted to six one-bedroom flats. The council has been working on ways to use the flats for social housing, but it has been concluded that due to the unique nature of the property, it is unsuitable for this.
The proposal is to sell the whole building, including the retail unit. This would mean income for the council through the sale of the building and also savings as the council would no longer be responsible for the costs and management of the listed building.
Upper Wilting Farm is in Rother and is currently let for farming. The site is approximately 188 acres (76 hectares) and comprises a main block with two smaller parcels of grassland/woodland. Much of the southern area of the main block is SSSI (site of special scientific interest).
The land is within the Strategic Gap in the Rother Local Plan which is designed to restrict built development of all but minor proposals so it has no immediate potential for redevelopment purposes, including housing.
Both the land at rear of 419 to 447 Bexhill Road and Mayfield E in Hollington have outline planning consent for residential development, and the full planning application for Bexhill Road is currently going through the planning process. Selling this land would allow social housing to be built more quickly than if the council was to develop them.
Cllr Paul Barnett, leader of the council and lead for finance, said: "We believe that selling these four assets is the best way forward for the council, in terms of raising revenue to help with the financial situation and, in the case of Bexhill Road and Mayfield E, that the sale of the land will mean homes are built more quickly than we could build them. The housing crisis is the council's top priority and any additional finances we can raise will help us address this and also ease the pressure on our budgets."