The Great British Sell Off

Date: 
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Category: 
Misc.

Title: Save our spaces - the great British sell off; how we're losing our vital publicly owned buildings and spaces. Forever. 

Publisher: Locality

Year: 2018

Summary

In January this year Locality submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all councils in England to try and get a better sense of the problem. They were shocked to learn that on average more than 4,000 publicly owned buildings and spaces in England are being sold off every year. That’s more than four times the number of Starbucks in the UK. This is a sell off on a massive scale. These buildings and spaces have potential to provide vital services and support to local people, but they are being lost to the community forever, through private sale to the highest bidder. Community ownership is a solution that puts these buildings and spaces back at the heart of the community and protects them for local people for generations to come. Community owned spaces are where people can come together, meet their neighbours and access vital support and services. Spaces like Bramley Baths, a Grade II listed Edwardian bath-house in Leeds, which was saved by a community group in 2013 when cuts to the Council’s leisure budget meant they had to consider closure. It is now a shining example of community ownership. Opening hours have doubled, the number of children taught to swim every week has jumped from 950 to 1700, and young people can access a lifeguard training programme to develop job opportunities. Yet, our FOI request found that less than half of all councils have a policy, known as a Community Asset Transfer policy, in place to support community ownership.