Kirklees Council is sitting on a land and property portfolio worth a staggering £1.2 BILLION.

However, such an estate comes with a massive maintenance bill.

Council chiefs – facing unprecedented austerity cuts – say they have just £2 million in the pot and something has to give.

The council is now undertaking a review of what it owns with community asset transfers one way to save buildings from being sold off.

A Resources Scrutiny Panel report shows that, so far, two asset transfers have been completed, the Carlile Institute in Meltham and the library in Denby Dale.

But in the future libraries are likely to be subject to community asset transfers as Kirklees looks to make major savings in the service.

 

Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for resources, said he hopes the public will take an interest in the future of buildings currently owned by the council.

Clr Turner, who represents Denby Dale, said: “If we have a community building and that community wants to take it on, they have ideas for it and they come to us with a business plan then I think we should consider asset transfers to them and support them.

“If it’s a piece of land nobody is interested in, and there is a value to it, then there is potential for us to sell it for housing or other development.

“We have a huge property and land portfolio and when you add it all together it adds up to a massive amount.

“Unwanted assets will be sold, usually at auction so we can get the best price for it.

“And people need to remember that empty buildings still cost us, it costs to keep it secure, to maintain it and that is a drain on resources.

“And if the building is run down then it can also drag an area down or attract vandals, which we don’t want to do.

“Instead we’ll look to sell unwanted assets and encourage economic growth and development and another way to bring them back into use, which is important to us all.”

Much of Kirklees Council land and property is in south Kirklees, such as the Ramsden estate.

It has a combined market value of £1.2 billion and is insured at more than double that.

As well as buildings and sports facilities, Kirklees has 650 public amenity areas such as car parks, allotments and play areas.

There are more than 400 commercial properties – shops, industrial units and eight farms – plus 4,400 leases to residents and groups and 23,000 council houses owned by the authority.

However, all buildings cost the council around £11 million in energy costs a year.

Selling those unused will net a cash boost and save on maintenance costs.