News story

Successful government estate programme expands

Twenty councils have been selected for the second phase of the One Public Estate programme to release excess government land and property.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The One Public Estate programme uses land and property released by government to boost economic growth and regeneration. Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association (LGA) run the programme to encourage sharing services, reducing running costs and generating capital receipts (money received from selling surplus property).

The 20 selected councils will join 12 pilot councils that took part in the first phase of the programme in 2013. They will receive funding and training from the Government Property Unit and LGA, including support on how to cut bureaucratic red tape and unblock barriers to progress.

The 20 councils taking part in the second phase of the One Public Estate programme are:

  • Manchester City, Trafford, Bury, Oldham, Salford and Stockport
  • Norfolk and Suffolk in partnership with Forest Heath and St. Edmondsbury (West Suffolk)
  • Liverpool
  • Birmingham
  • Barnet
  • Croydon
  • Plymouth
  • Southampton
  • Kent
  • York
  • Cornwall
  • Bradford

For a list of the 12 councils in the first phase, see the press release welcoming the new pilot scheme.

The programme is already projected to:

  • save £21 million in running costs and £88 million in capital receipts
  • generate around £40 million for local economies
  • create an estimated 5,500 jobs and 7,500 homes over the next 5 years

Councillor Peter Fleming, Chair of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said:

The One Public Estate programme demonstrates the successes which can be achieved when councils and government get together to release land for growth and service improvements, which in turn leads to housing, job creation and economic growth.

The first round has been extremely successful and this second round will continue to build on the good work achieved so far. Local authorities have been in the driving seat and the achievements made during the first wave represent a tiny proportion of what we believe One Public Estate can achieve.

I am sure the authorities taking part in the second wave of the programme will achieve great successes on behalf of their residents.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

As part of this government’s long-term economic plan we have got out of 1,250 buildings since the last general election generating hundreds of millions in savings and creating more opportunities for housing and jobs.

This programme shows what can be done when central and local government work together, and it’s great to see more and more local authorities entering the programme and demonstrating a readiness to save money for taxpayers, create new jobs and deliver better services by using their assets more efficiently.

Case studies on the benefits of the programme

Leeds

Leeds City Council worked with West Yorkshire Police to help them secure a new site for their divisional Headquarters. The police force is working to put more constables on the streets, so the council located an 8-acre edge of town site opposite Leeds United football ground.

The council also purchased the Millgarth police station for city centre regeneration. This aims to help develop the Victoria Gate retail scheme which will include a new flagship John Lewis store and create over 990 jobs.

Hull

Since 2011 the Hull City Council Building Optimisation Programme (BOP) has reduced council office properties in the city centre from 43 buildings to 29. A new city centre Customer Service Centre (The Wilson Centre) was built using the savings made.

The BOP programme has extended to include other public sector partners. The new NHS Bransholme Health Centre provides health and community services in 1 building, allowing the council to relinquish several expensive leases and integrate public services.

The 2013 to 2014 programme terminated 13 leases, vacated 6 buildings, generated £971,000 in capital receipts and saved £292,000 in running costs.

Surrey County Council

At Knowle Green in Staines Upon Thames, Surrey County Council is working in partnership with Spelthorne Borough Council, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the NHS to review the provision of local services. They aim to integrate local and central government services in the retail core of the town. This will also free up the current site for 340 new homes, generating £25 to £20 million in capital receipts.

Published 6 August 2014