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FIND May 2011 Newsletter

With local authority budgets under increasing pressure it would seem that mapped assets are being thoroughly examined to identify sites which might be put to 'better' use.

In Liverpool, the Council plans to sell 20 sites around the city in a bid to lure investment from developers. The sites include schools, industrial depots, office buildings and residential tower blocks. The Council sees this as an opportunity to rid itself of unwanted sites and to stimulate the local economy.

In other areas, pressure to 'balance the books' has led to proposals for the sale of bowling greens and allotments. Local resistance to the sale of these tranquil open spaces is fierce. The sites are regarded as important community hubs which provide sanctuary from the pressures of high density urban life and valuable habitat for flora and fauna. Critics of the proposed sales argue that these sites should not be sacrificed in the name of short term gain.

However, not all local authorities are steering the same course. Having carefully examined proposals to sell off tenanted farms, Staffordshire County Council decided, instead, to invest £1m in these assets. The farms are now expected to generate a rolling income of £400,000 per year. In this case, investment, rather than cuts, made better sense.

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