Property website is branded a waste of cash by Bradford councillor (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Property website is branded a waste of cash by Bradford councillor
A “Rightmove” style website designed to sell empty Government buildings, including several in the Bradford district, has been dismissed as a “waste of money.”
Buildings included on the site, called Find Me Some Government Space, include the former Keighley County Court, the old Bingley Magistrates Court, the former Bingley Hospital site and seven acres of land in Bradford.
But the councillor in charge of regeneration at Bradford Council, Susan Hinchcliffe, believes the Government would have a better chance of shifting the buildings if they worked with the Council more.
The Keighley building on North Street and the Bingley Court on Bradford Road both closed last year due to a reorganisation of the justice system. They are available for sale or rent.
Bingley Hospital closed in 2010, but parts of the 0.79 acre site have been empty for over a decade.
Almost four acres of land next to Bradford’s Odsal Stadium, on Rooley Avenue and formerly belonging to the Department of Health, is listed on the site, as is a 4.4 acre strip of land running from Bowling Back Lane to Ripley Road, which belonged to the Department of Transport.
The site does not include prices, but has contact details for potential buyers to get in touch with the relevant Government department.
It was launched by cabinet office minister Chloe Smith, and marks the first time businesses and the public will be able to find all the available Government-owned space available in a town or postcode.
Mrs Smith said the site would bring in revenue for the Government, but would also “see new opportunities, jobs and growth in local economies as new life is brought into empty, unused properties”.
Coun Hinchcliffe is sceptical the website would do much good.
She said: “The Council works closely with agents to market empty properties to interested investors, regardless of who owns them, through our Invest in Bradford team. To be honest, most developers, just like people buying a house, choose to narrow their search by area, not by who’s owned the building previously so I'm not sure how many people are going to use this website. National Government’s money would be much better spent co-ordinating the marketing of these properties locally with the council. Selling properties in Bradford from their base in London is just not going to work. Government are under immense criticism for not getting the economy moving so want to be seen to be doing something. However we need more economic stimulus than just building another new website. It's not the best use of Government money.”
Howard Martin, chairman of Bingley Chamber of Trade, said: “Any initiative that stops properties being vacant is a good thing, they just have to publicise it and get people on it. I just hope they follow it through.”