Posted: Sat 16th Apr 2016

Sales Helping Re-Invest Millions Back Into Services

This article is old - Published: Saturday, Apr 16th, 2016

More than £19m generated by Swansea Council land and property sales has been re-invested in services for residents across the city over the last five years. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

An Asset Management Plan (2013-2017) progress report says the council has sold over 500 of its plots of land and buildings since 2011 as it looks to make best use of its estate and tackle a major budget deficit. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report, being considered by Swansea Council’s Cabinet on Thursday April 21, gives an update on areas including the council’s carbon reduction strategy, corporate office accommodation strategy and disposal programme. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Progress includes a 17% reduction in total carbon emissions from 2009/2010. At current electricity, gas and oil prices, this represents a saving of about £1.4m a year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Penllergaer Civic Centre has now been largely vacated in readiness for sale, with staff relocated to the Civic Centre and Guildhall. Many social services staff have also been relocated to Guildhall, enabling the release of three floors of Oldway House in the city centre. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

More than 1,000 staff have been successfully relocated in recent years, generating savings of £500,000. This figure is expected to rise to at least £3m by the end of March, 2017. A development manager has also been appointed to lead the regeneration of the city centre’s Civic Centre site in the longer term. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A combination of land and property sales and closures means the council has now reduced its maintenance backlog by over £100m. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Geoff Bacon, Swansea Council’s Strategic Estates Manager, said: “A great deal has been achieved in a relatively short timeframe, helping save the council money on maintenance costs and generating funds that are re-invested back into services. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“In light of the major budget deficit we face, it’s now more important than ever that the council makes best use of its estate. Our corporate office accommodation strategy shows we’re determined to lead the way by streamlining our own operations and marketing our surplus sites for regeneration, benefitting residents and visitors to the city in years to come. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We’ll continue to do all we can to be leaner, as well as more commercially minded and environmentally friendly, as we look to transform the council into an authority that’s sustainable and fit for the future.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cabinet will also be updated on the shared use of facilities and the QEd (Quality in Education) 2020 programme. This could see the council working more closely with the health board, communities and schools at a number of buildings in years to come. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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