Property development scheme pays off in Staffordshire

Friday, 27th October 2017

A PIONEERING public and private sector property partnership designed to benefit taxpayers is unlocking millions of pounds of assets, saving money and paving the way for new housing to be built.

Staffordshire County Council’s Corporate Review committee will hear that dozens of local authority-owned buildings or pieces of land potentially worth millions of pounds, have either been allocated to The Penda Property Partnership programme, or identified for a specific use, in the last 12 months.

Mark Deaville, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Commercial, said: “We have a duty to do the best we can with our assets for the benefit of taxpayers and in the first two years this partnership has raised £12.2 million, obtained planning permission for nearly 700 homes and, so far, reduced the running costs of using older buildings by around £300,000 a year.

“We’ve also unlocked land for a large extra care scheme in Biddulph, are about to save taxpayers millions of pounds by centralising public services in one venue in Newcastle and are considering how we can repeat that saving in other parts of the county.”

The Penda Property Partnership began operating in 2015 with a brief to look at the best use for surplus or under-used land and buildings, but each suggestion is subject to a business case and value-for-money test which has to be approved by the authority.

Other public bodies can join the group to use its expertise for specific projects.

Mark Deaville added: “The purpose is to take a fresh look at our assets and market those we no longer have use for to support new jobs, homes, healthcare and wider investment in Staffordshire.

“Money raised from this can’t be spent on the annual budget but can be used for investment. Although, in part it predates Penda, money raised from land sales since 2013 has been put towards building schools, roads, superfast broadband and extra care facilities, as well as creating industrial estates such as i54 South Staffordshire, Redhill in Stafford and Liberty Park in Lichfield to attract and safeguard new and existing jobs for the benefit of residents.”

The report will be considered by the scrutiny committee on Friday, November 3.