A lesson in fiscal incontinence

I am grateful to a colleague who unearthed the following piece of information:

The Council sold Alexandra Street and Clarence Road car parks to what was then English Partnerships for £2m plus a share of any development overage and the right to retain all parking income for the duration of the leases. The intention was that they would be redeveloped however due to the pressures on the property and financial markets, this has not transpire to be the case to date.

The Car Parks have subsequently been re-purchased from the Homes and Communities Agency (into which English Partnerships was merged) for £2.88m with the removal of any overage payments and again, the full retention of the parking income. For information, the income from the two car parks is c.£300k p.a. equating to c.£1.5m over the 5 year period. Please note that these income figures are approximate and slightly different for each year.

I have quoted in full from the FOI request because I do not want to be accused of misquoting anyone. The important piece of information here is that the Council have squandered £880,000 in these two transactions.

I am always deeply worried about the Council selling any land – after all, this land is our land. I am especially troubled when they then have to buy it back, making a substantial loss into the bargain.

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