Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another 1.6million lost by Southampton City Council

The left of my photo shows part of the West Wing of the Civic Centre,
housing the Southampton Central Police Station.
As an interested member of the general public, I am amazed at the way Southampton City Council continues to mis-manage its property portfolio. I first became interested in this aspect of the council's working when I stood in Redbridge and officers proposed that they sell a piece of land with a pub on it at a fraction of the market price to a friendly property developer. I made such a fuss about this, the land was withdrawn from sale.
The latest incident concerns a brownfield site at the bottom of Freemantle. The public papers reveal Cabinet are proposing that they sell the freehold of this land to Hampshire Constabulary at about #1million less than the market valuation in order that they may build a new police station. This means that the police will also move out of the west wing of the civic centre meaning that they will lose the rental income on this property which is about another #300k per annum so in the first year the council stand to lose 1.3m and then 300k p.a. thereafter. As far as I am aware, there are as yet no detailed plans to find another tenant for the existing police station site and the adjacent empty court rooms have stood idle for 6-7 years now? Incidentally, this figure excludes any income on the brownfield site- that would be worth conservatively at least another #300k of rent bringing the net lose of income to circa #600k a year on top of the million lost on the deal in the first year!
Am I the only person who finds this mismanagement something of a scandal?
The sums of money involved are considerable. Adrian Vinson the leader of the Council should carry the can for these deals, even if the decisions are taken by officers with delegated powers.


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