Selling off property has been worthwhile for council

The properties sold by the council required work to be carried it
The properties sold by the council required work to be carried it

Falkirk Council raised nearly £700,000 last year by selling empty business premises.

The cash from disposing of shops, offices, industrial units and land under its portfolio managemenet plan allowed new business opportunities to be developed.

The council’s economic strategy committee was told the vacant properties needed substantial refurbishment and upgrading it would not have been cost effective for the council.

During the year 2011-12 nine of the 12 properties available were sold, bringing in £681,549. In one case the new owners of shops in Grahams Road modernised the premises, attracted three new tenants and created five jobs.

The council’s 500 business premises are worth over £5 million a year. The sell and reinvest scheme is aimed at protecting this income and at the same time allowing the council to modernise its stock.

Rhona Geisler, director of development services, said: “The council’s plan is proving successful in modernising the portfolio of business properties in the Falkirk area. It is enabling investors to refurbish existing buildings to create modern, fit-for-purpose business space for small local businesses to locate, grow and create jobs.

The reinvestment programme has also enabled the construction and letting of business space which is assisting business growth in the area.”

Councillors agreed to streamline the procedures for disposing of assets so delays are kept to a minimum and potential purchasers do not lose interest or find alternative projects. A key change will be to allow council officers to conclude sales with a value of up to £200,000 without committee approval.