By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter
A car park in Nottingham is to be sold-off by Nottingham City Council as it continues to chip away at its £900m debt.
Since the Government appointed an improvement board, upon the collapse of Robin Hood Energy, the Labour-led authority has been selling off property assets which it deems ‘surplus’ as one way to claw back cash.
So far it has been able to cut its debt from £1.2bn to £900m through measures such as its Asset Rationalisation Programme.
The latest in “low-value” asset sales is the disposal of a car park in the Hyson Green and Arboretum wards.
According to the authority, the car park in Gamble Street, at the junction with Newdigate Street, there is no “strategic” need to keep it and it has suffered from a lack of investment over the years.
It says the disposal of the car park may also bring an end to criminal activity and anti-social behaviour linked to the site.
Documents say: “It is in a stand-alone position with no strategic need for retention.
“The property has had no inward investment for many years.
“Currently void, this presents a perfect opportunity to add value to an asset before disposal.
“Revenue savings will be made in regard to void business rates which will help relieve any in year pressures on the Trading Account and will bring to an end various crime and anti-social behaviour issues linked to the site.”
This year, the council has been focused on the sale of a small number of high-value assets including The Guildhall, the former central library on Angel Row and property at Clifton West.
Between 2020/21 to 2021/22, the council has made £30.7m from asset sales.
It currently owns more than 3,600 property assets, including a number of farms across the country, with a collective value of more than £1bn.
A further £90m-worth of assets will be put on the market over the next four years.
As well as high-value assets, the council remains engaged in the selling of property of a lesser value.
The council has before stated the need to look “down the back of the sofa” to improve its financial situation.
These have included 81-85 Upper Parliament Street, part of which had been let to an adult shop, as well as a building inhabited by Castle Gym in Castle Boulevard, and the gym had been open since the 1980s.
Councillors have before raised concerns over the sale of some assets which have a high community value, such as Highbury Vale Community Centre and Summerwood Day Centre in Clifton.
The council is also engaged in a review of its office portfolio, but no staff losses are anticipated.
Speaking of the council’s asset sales programme, the Government has previously expressed there had been “improvement”.
Such progress has gone some way to stave off commissioner intervention.
In its latest quarterly report the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “It can be noted that, as a result of the council’s voluntary debt reduction policy and delivery of the Asset Rationalisation Programme, overall debt is due to reduce to £900.9m by the end of 2021/22 which represents an improvement.
“This is a positive outcome having regard to previously expressed concerns regarding the council’s levels of debt.”