Council plans to sell off land

TOWN hall chiefs are considering selling off green spaces in a bid to boost the authority’s dwindling coffers.

Hastings Borough Council is facing a £2.3 million funding deficit this year alone and a drop in Government funding by 30 per cent over the next two years.

As well as having to make savings in other areas, the authority said selling off areas of open land it owns will cut the cost of maintaining them.

It plans to dispose of land off Parkstone Road, which is around 1,355 square metres big, almost 3,000 sq m of greenery next to 123 Ghyllside Avenue and another smaller plot of land, which is almost 600 sq m big, next to 115 Ghyllside Avenue.

Kevin Boorman, the council’s spokesman, said he could not say how much money the authority would make but it would not run into ‘millions’.

He said: “The council owns land that is needed for operational purposes, is accessible open space enjoyed by the public or has a potential for development. We have a financial duty to look at any land not falling into these categories and asking if it is right to hang on to it what with all the costs of maintenance.

“So we are looking at the possibility of selling small areas of land we own, to help our budget position. Selling this land could both cut maintenance costs, and raise one-off sums of money, although the size and location of the plots of land means any money raised is likely to be modest.

“The land adjoining 115 Ghyllside Avenue was acquired as public open space from developers in July 1976. This is a small corner plot of land, mostly wooded. The trees are protected by a group tree preservation order. The land adjoining 123 Ghyllside Avenue was acquired in March 1976. It is mainly wooded and is protected by a woodland tree preservation order.”

Mr Boorman said the pieces of land under consideration were too small or too close to homes to be used as play areas.

He added: “Adjoining properties have other areas of open space within reasonable distance.

“We have advertised the possible sale of this land to allow residents to let us know what they feel.

“Comments and objections will be carefully considered before any decision to sell or to place further restrictions on these plots is taken.”

Anyone wanting to object can write to Jayne Butters, the council’s solicitor, Hastings Borough Council, Aquila House, Breeds Place, Hastings, TN34 3UY before next Friday (June 24).