Buildings sell-off plan to help cash-strapped authority raise £22m
CASH-STRAPPED Derbyshire County Council is planning to sell off 74 of its buildings to raise about £22m.
It is also looking to move staff from another 31 rented premises to make even more savings.
The move will affect almost 5,000 employees but chief executive Nick Hodgson says the authority will refund workers for extra transport costs they incur as a result of travelling further to work.
He said: "We do have a policy that means if we ask people to travel a longer way we will pay them the cost of the extra mileage.
"These costs are factored into the business case when we consider whether to sell or vacate a building."
Mr Hodgson said the move would save the council a "substantial amount of money", with savings including a lower maintenance bill.
More than 800 staff have already been moved into offices with spare room and some have been relocated into South Derbyshire District Council's headquarters in Swadlincote, as authorities seek to help each other out.
Of the 74 buildings the county council wants to sell, Mr Hodgson said 18 had already been sold over the past two years, raising £2.8 million.
Mr Hodgson said the authority would bide its time over the sale of the remaining properties.
He said: "We're being very careful.
"These are not the best times to be getting rid of buildings due to the state of the property market.
"There's a balance to be struck between getting rid of a building now and getting a capital receipt in and waiting for a bit for the market to bounce back."
Mr Hodgson said three of the "for sale" buildings could potentially be kept by the council, so it can use the land to build extra-care apartments. This would avoid the council having to pay millions of pounds to acquire other land.
Among the buildings already vacated or sold by the council are Borrowash House, De Bradelie Mill in Belper, Granville Avenue Day Centre in Long Eaton, Common Road Community Living Unit in Church Gresley, Market House in Ripley, Cotmanhay Family Support Centre and Matlock Connexions Centre.
The authority has also moved out of offices in Smedley Street and Bank Street in Matlock, as well as Bernard Street in Swadlincote.