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Council urged to sell off its unused assets as quickly as possible

Armagh City Centre

A Portadown councillor has urged Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to sell off its unused assets as quickly as possible.

Speaking at a meeting of Council’s governance, resources and strategy committee, Councillor Darryn Causby noted that included within the estate and asset management department’s business plan for the 2021/22 financial year is the plan to sell off surplus assets.

Two of the department’s actions for the new financial year are to investigate and implement the disposal of phase one surplus assets as identified by the land and property transformation review and investigate the disposal of phase two surplus assets identified by the same review.

It is hoped that by March 2022, 30 per cent of phase one surplus assets will be sold. By the same time, the target is to review 30 per cent of the phase two surplus assets’ title documents.

Speaking about the report, Councillor Causby asked if the review of Council’s assets has been completed.

“Is the review of Council assets completed in its entirety and if not what is the time scale for its completion,” asked the DUP councillor.

“I would be really keen that some of these assets are moved on, they are not assets, they are liabilities when you consider Council is still responsible for maintenance and heating costs and I would be keen to see their sale progress.”

In response to these comments, Council’s head of estate and assets management, Jonathan Hayes said the disposal of assets that have been identified is “very much a point in time” exercise that is continually progressed.

“We continue to look at the estate as we identify other assets that can be added to those lists and it is very much a living document,” said Mr Hayes.

“In relation to tranche one and two, we are actively looking to progress those and I have another report that will come before the next committee meeting in relation to those.

“Essentially the documents will be reviewed and added to as we become clearer as to the services required and how best to facilitate them.”

When asked for a list of surplus assets identified in Phase 1 and Phase 2 a Council spokesperson said these could not be disclosed for commercial reasons.

“Council is unable to provide this information as it is confidential and commercially sensitive,” said the spokesperson.

“Any disposal of assets is carried out in accordance with Council’s Acquisition and Disposal Policy and where applicable publicly advertised at the point of disposal.”

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