Bradford Council has unveiled a controversial hit-list of 28 office buildings it plans to sell off in an effort to save £7.5m.

Lodge offices at cemeteries and parks, an information shop for young people and an interfaith centre are among the buildings set to be put up for sale.

The fire sale is the first phase in a comprehensive estates strategy aimed at raising £65m from the sale of local authority assets over the next decade.

All 286 of the Council’s office buildings are being reviewed. Sixty-nine were evaluated for their suitability and condition in the first phase of the project, with 28 of those set to be sold off.

Running and energy costs, as well as the backlog of maintenance and carbon dioxide emissions, of each office are being taken into account.

In phase one, the Council expects to raise as much as £3.5m from sales and allowing leases to expire while avoiding a further £4m in maintenance costs associated with those buildings.

One of the cemetery lodges for sale is at Scholemoor Cemetery in Great Horton. According to Council documents, officers are “challenging the rationale behind the service’s preference for retention”.

Michael Jacques, who is campaigning for the Council to use CCTV cameras to monitor the cemetery’s baby section following vandalism to his stillborn daughter Grace’s grave, is concerned about any sell-off.

He said: “If they are going to close the lodge down and it is left empty, you are going to have people breaking in and squatting.

“The lodge keeps the cemetery records and this service wouldn’t be available to people looking for graves.”

Councillor John Godward (Lab, Great Horton) said: “I hope they won’t demolish it but it remains to be seen whether it will be sold.

“There has been problems with vandalism for as long as I have been a councillor and that’s 30 years. It’s very difficult for the authority at the moment to save these things.”

Coun David Heseltine (Con, Bingley) said he would be concerned if the lodge at Bingley cemetery was allowed to stand vacant.

He said: “You only have to look at what happened to the Roberts Park offices. They were derelict for many years and were used and abused by various miscreants so I would be mindful of what would happen if this building was vacant.

“These kind of buildings have been sold in the past and I would like to see a sensitive use such as being occupied by a stonemason for work on graves – something in keeping with the surroundings.”

Bradford’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Jamil (Con, Bowling and Barkerend) does not want the Youth Justice Service to be moved from his ward.

He said: “The building is structurally sound. These people should stay where they are. It is a multi-use site which is providing services and activities for local young people, keeping them off street corners being involved in anti-social behaviour.”

Some properties going up for sale are derelict. The Interfaith Education Centre in Listerhills was ravaged by fire in December 2009. Five others are already closed as part of “service consolidations”, according to a report to the corporate scrutiny committee.

The young people’s Information Shop, in Broadway, will be sold. The drop-in service will be incorporated in the new £7.38m Culture Fusion facility in Thornton Road. The YMCA-led development has been supported with a £5m grant from the Government and building work started in September ahead of its expected opening in autumn.

Paul Colley, Bradford YMCA business development manager, said the loss would be more than compensated for.

“Culture Fusion will be a one-stop access point for young people on everything from mental and sexual health to international volunteering and leisure activities,” he said.

Other buildings for sale include lodge offices at cemeteries and parks, and the Council is investigating moving the Youth Justice Service from Barkerend Road to Bank House in the city centre.

A prime aim of the estates strategy is to relocate staff to reinforce the Council’s presence in the city centre.

Councillor David Green, the Council’s executive member for regeneration and the economy, said: “If we can increase the number of people working in the city centre it will increase footfall in the retail area. It will help to boost the businesses that are currently in the city centre and make it more attractive to new investment.

“The other aims are to reduce the Council’s costs to make the use of our estate more efficient and also to reduce the Council’s carbon footprint by coming out of some buildings that are environmentally and economically less sustainable.

“Anything we can do to save money on bricks and mortar can be moved to front line services and protect some of the things that are going to be cut.

“Some of these sites will go to auction, some may be looked at as potential development sites and with some, not necessarily from this batch, we might get community groups coming forward to take them on.”

He said the speed with which the strategy progressed depended on market opportunities and proposals by the private and voluntary sector for alternative uses of sites, but he said he wanted to see “substantial progress” in the next six to nine months.

Coun Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Council’s Liberal Democrat group, fully endorsed the strategy.

She said: “The cost of selling these offices and not maintaining them will help pay for extra care homes and caring for people with dementia.”

Forty-one buildings reviewed in the estate strategy’s first phase are being retained. They include tourist information offices in Bradford, Ilkley and Haworth, Bradford Register Office, Bingley Council Shop and offices at Lister Park, Roberts Park and Cliff Castle.

The review document goes on to warn that it may not be possible for the Council to accommodate all displaced staff within the retained estate but this could change if the roll-out of revised terms and conditions for staff, particularly flexible working, is accelerated.

To make full savings from the first phase, a one-off investment of £500,000 will be needed from the Council’s B-works budget in the new financial year.

A dedicated and skilled project team will be set up to implement the first phase of the scheme and to develop possible solutions for the remaining offices.


  • 28 Gaythorne Terrace, Clayton.
  • Hazelhurst, 723 Leeds Road, Bradford Moor.
  • Interfaith Education Centre, St Andrew’s Place, Listerhills.
  • Information Shop, Broadway, Bradford city centre.
  • Bowling Park lodge, East Bowling.
  • 31 Saltaire Road, ground floor office – lease terminating.
  • 13A Chapel Lane, Bingley.
  • Wesley Place, Silsden.
  • Bingley Cemetery lodge.
  • Nab Wood Cemetery lodge.
  • Scholemoor Cemetery lodge.
  • Utley Cemetery lodge.
  • Horton Park lodge.
  • Unit 14D Orchard House, Lawkholme Lane, Keighley.
  • Bradford & District Youth Offending Team, Manor Lane, Shipley.
  • South Square Community Centre offices, Thornton – lease surrendered.
  • 26 Mayfield Terrace, Clayton.
  • Youth Justice Service, Barkerend Road, Bradford Moor.
  • Holybrook House, Romanby Shaw, Greengates.
  • 215 Lumb Lane, Manningham.
  • 9 Romanby Shaw, Greengates.
  • 1-4 & 6 Springfield and Springfield House, Squire Lane, Girlington.
  • Blakehill Grange, Bradford Moor.