The county council has put more buildings on the market this week, including Alnwick’s fire station, as it continues to sell off unwanted assets.
Northumberland County Council has already generated almost £12million in income by selling buildings and land it no longer needs, including Thornbrae and the former council chamber in Alnwick.
At the same time, the local authority has also been investing in a range of other properties to help regenerate market towns, including Alnwick’s Northumberland Hall.
Last month, the council began ‘testing the market’ on a number of other key sites across Northumberland, including County Hall in Morpeth and land at Ingram Road in Bamburgh – as it moves towards the delivery of co-located services in market towns, for example, the proposals for a community hub in Alnwick Playhouse.
Now, the council is trying to offload Milfield, Cornhill and Wooler First Schools, which are empty after the first two were closed and the latter moved onto the Glendale Middle School site on Brewery Road. Two proposals for the future of the Wooler First School site – a community-led housing scheme and a crematorium – were discussed at Monday night’s meeting of Wooler Parish Council.
Also up for sale is Alnwick Fire Station, on South Road, as a new station, part of a shared depot at Lionheart Industrial Estate, is under construction, and land in Embleton.
Council leader Grant Davey said: “Across Northumberland we are committed to making great places even better. Investing in our market towns is key to regenerating the county.
“We’ve already had a lot of positive interest in the properties which went to market testing last month and we’re confident these other sites will also prove popular. It goes without saying if any parish or town councils may be interested in buying any of these properties or land parcels we would be interested in hearing from them.”
In making any decisions about the sale of the buildings and land, the council will consider the proposed use of the land and the value which would be reinvested in the market towns and used to protect front-line services.
Coun Davey added: “Given the scale of the Government cuts we are facing – a further £58million over the next four years – our market towns initiative, including the rationalisation of our estate, is vital to generate savings to protect frontline services and make it easier for residents to access key frontline services in their local area by providing them under one roof.”