Labour council sells office buildings for £1

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has sold buildings for just £1, after the price of 'mothballing' them was said to be uneconomical

by The Commentator on 20 March 2013 17:19

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Great Yarmouth Borough Council, in Norfolk on Britain's east coast, has sold off some buildings that were unwanted by the local government body - for just £1.

Described as a cost-cutting exercise, Trafalgar House and the Old Fire Station were both sold following a round of redundancies. Saffron Housing Trust, a home-building company, snapped up the offer and is expected to turn the properties into affordable homes.

While the price tag on the commercial properties are extremely low, it is reported that to maintain or 'mothball' the buildings would have cost the council around £130,000 due to security and business rates. A quick sale, the Labour-run council says, was the best option. Apparently, it had to be at a low price given that interest was not particularly high in the buildings.

The council was recently Conservative-run until 2012, wherein Labour gained control over the Tories by one seat - a phenomenon that local Tory MP Brandon Lewis blamed on UKIP, "UKIP cost us control of Great Yarmouth Borough Council," he wrote for the ConservativeHome website in 2012. "Both locally and nationally, we failed to tell our own story and develop our message, voters seem unsure about where we are heading," he said.

Leader of the council, Trevor Wainwright, told the BBC more about the sale: "Because we didn't have any interest and because of the cost, then obviously we went to the housing association to see if they were interested and they came back with a positive interest."

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