> But the bad news is that “the council is not legally permitted to use proceeds from the sale of assets to fund public services.”
Cash-strapped councils could make millions of pounds at auction as they sell off their assets.
Both Newcastle City Council and Middlesbrough Borough Council are selling houses, industrial units and a care home in an attempt to claw back money following a series of cuts.
In an auction next month both councils are expected to make millions of pounds – cash they say will be used to develop Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
In Newcastle, leaders are expected to make nearly £2.5m from the sale – on top of £7m they made at a similar auction last month. The news comes just after council leaders announced their £40m cuts package.
Lib Dem Coun Greg Stone said:
“I think Newcastle City Council have a case for reviewing the property. Given the council’s rationalisation of accommodation and with that there will be surplus property.
“It is reasonable to dispose of these but what we need to know is what the council will be spending the money on.”
Houses on the prestigious Jesmond Road West, in Jesmond, Newcastle, and three properties on Great North Road, in Jesmond, are some of the assets being put up for sale.
Other properties to go under the hammer include Craghall Care Home, also in Jesmond, which could bring in as much as £850,000, and the Co-Operative Store, on Newton Road, in High Heaton, for a guide price of £120,000 to £130,000.
The council said it no longer uses the buildings and cash from the auction will help fund future developments.
A council spokesman said:
“As part of the rationalisation of our estate we are in the process of auctioning off former council offices which we no longer use.
“The proceeds will go into our capital investment fund and be used to fund infrastructure improvements at development sites for the future growth of the city and the creation of employment opportunities.
“The council is not legally permitted to use proceeds from the sale of assets to fund public services.”
Leaders in Middlesbrough are also expected to sell property on Brewsdale Road, in North Ormesby and The Park End, on Penistone Road.
A Middlesbrough Council spokesman said: “There is an ongoing review of the assets and we are making the best use of them.”
He said the cash would be invested in other capital projects.
The properties which have come under the hammer will be sold at the Lambert Smith Hampton auction on February 23 at the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square in London.
Source – Sunday Sun, 01 Feb 2015
Hugely controversial television show Benefits Street could have its second series filmed in Middlesbrough.
Researchers for the Channel 4 show have been approaching residents and councillors in certain parts of the town asking if they would like to take part in a future series.
There have been reports of the North Ormesby, Brambles Farm, Pallister Park and Grangetown areas of the town being targeted.
The first series of Benefits Street, filmed on James Turner Street in Birmingham , sparked a national controversy about its portrayal of people living on benefits.
Len Junier, Labour’s councillor for North Ormesby and Brambles Farm, said: “Channel 4 rang me asking whether I would be interested in taking part.
“I refused point-blank.
“I told them I don’t take part in programmes that show people in a bad light.
“East Middlesbrough has had its issues – it would be wrong to say it hasn’t – but those people in the show in Birmingham were set up.
“They were made to look like spongers and scroungers.
“I asked Channel 4 not to contact me any further.”
Ann Bayley, who is chairwoman of North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Trust, said: “There are a lot of people in North Ormesby on benefits but there are a lot of good people.
“Things are going quite well around here, there are only two empty shops – we’re trying to improve.”
Specific streets thought to have been visited by researchers include Peaton Street, North Ormesby, and Marshall Avenue.
Meanwhile, TV chiefs have remained tight-lipped about the possibility of using Middlesbrough as a location.
Love Productions – which produced Benefits Street – referred queries to Channel 4.
And a spokesman for the broadcaster said: “Love Productions are in development and researching potential new locations for a second series of Benefits Street and are looking at a number of areas around the country.
“The first series ignited an important debate about the welfare system and we are interested in seeing if we can revisit this through the experiences of residents of a street in a different part of Britain.”
But speaking after the original programme was aired, Dee Roberts, who appeared in the series, said: “They said they wanted to film for a TV show about how great community spirit is in the street and how we all help each other out on a daily basis.
“But this programme has nothing to do with community, which you can tell from the title. It’s all about people in the street living off benefits, taking drugs and dossing around all day.”
Source – Middlesbrough Gazette, 04 April 2014