Friday, 2 July 2010

Council buildings for sale

H&F Council is to raise £20 million by selling off nine buildings in the coming months, as part of Council Leader Cllr Greenhalgh's "solemn pledge" to cut  what he called the Council's "debt mountain". Here are the sites that will shortly have For Sale signs outside the door:

• Fulham Town Hall

• The Sands End Community Centre

• The Askham Centre

• Distillery Lane Centre

• Palingswick House

The Irish Centre

• 58 Bulwer Street

• The Greswell Street Centre

• 50 Commonwealth Avenue W12

There are three properties where the council proposes to discontinue its lease. These are:

• The Information Centre in Hammersmith Broadway

• Cambridge House
• Barclay House

The vast majority of these fire sales will affect the voluntary sector working to support individuals and communitities. Although the Council says they will all be 'helped' it seems clear to me at least that some will fold, and no longer be around. And the Council also says that these nine are just the first - more buildings will be sold off in future.

Cllr Greenhalgh says this:

The voluntary sector is hugely important in supporting local residents, but in these difficult times we must all do more for less,” adds Cllr Greenhalgh. “We are asking the voluntary sector to do what the council has already done - to use buildings more effectively and to focus on services rather than bricks and mortar. By moving to community hubs we will be able to provide better, more modern facilities for voluntary organisations under one roof, rather than in expensive, disparate buildings, many of which aren't suitable and have access problems.

The council will put in place extra support to help the groups affected by these site disposals to find suitable alternative accommodation and to manage the transfer process".

Pictured on the Council's home page reporting this story is a nice shot of Cllr Greenhalgh and Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Local Government. You may remember Mr Pickles recently attacked what he called "Town Hall Pravdas", or state run propaganda newspapers that masquerade as independent journalism, and are produced at tapayer expense. Strangely the Council has yet to announce that it will make an immediate saving by scrapping it's own Town Hall Pravda, H&F News.

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