Council looks to spend £130,000 to gain revenue from its property

‘Property professionals’ costing £130,000 a year could be appointed to deal with Argyll and Bute’s land and buildings.

Last year it was revealed here that the council owned nearly 40 empty or disused buildings, valued at nearly £3m.

The list – which wrongly included a shop unit rented by a then councillor – was only released after a long battle using Freedom of Information legislation.

Since then regular reports have been submitted to the council’s local area committee, with several properties in and around Helensburgh being sold.

And now a complete review of the way that the council looks after its property is being proposed by executive director of customer services Douglas Hendry.

He concedes that currently there is ‘little or no budget for planned maintenance’ of buildings, several of which are listed, and says his proposal would increase income from rent and sales and says officials are already looking to gain revenue from sits including Duck Bay on Loch Lomond.

“This ‘One Council’ approach would be a step change in the way that the council views its property portfolio,” he says in a report to the policy and resources committee next Thursday.

“At the moment land and buildings owned by the council are “held” by individual services who may or may not appreciate the number and type of assets that the council “hold” and the nature and extent of their use, type and occupation.”

To do this, he says, the council should emply “at least two property professionals, at least one of whom is proficient in commercial property development, and at least one technical officer to provide support. Such a resource would mean an additional cost of approx. £130,000 per annum.”

The council says that it owns over 1,700 buildings and parcels of land with a nominal value of over £600m – this includes airports, supermarkets, windturbine sites, ferry terminals, schools, landfill sites, farmland, car parks, offices, cemeteries, offices and farms.

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