Council makes £95k by buying back landmark after selling it

Clackmannanshire Council sold the former office for £295,000 in 2017.

Council makes £95k by buying back landmark after selling it LDRS

Clackmannanshire Council has made £95,000 in selling Greenfield House to a private developer and buying it back again.

Land records show the local authority has turned a profit on its former office in Greenfield Park, Alloa, which it had deemed “surplus to requirements” after moving to Kilncraigs in 2014.

Kinross couple Keith and Denice Punler bought the 19th century house in 2017 through Kapital Residential Ltd, a company of their own devising, after securing planning permission to convert it into sheltered housing.

However, the permission lapsed after no work was undertaken on the site and Greenfield has since been left to rot.

Recently, safety fears had been aired after footage of so-called urban explorers accessing the building was shared online prompting calls for the council to buy it back.

Clackmannanshire Council has long since admitted that the decision to sell its former offices was the wrong one – but new documents suggest that it may be no the worse off from the error.

According to the latest filings at the Registers of Scotland, the council bought Greenfield back from Kapital for £200,000 – £95,000 less than the private firm paid to buy it in the first place.

This suggests that the authority’s capital receipts budget – the spending pot the council has for major projects such as new roads and buildings – has profited by almost £100,000 from the entire episode.

The accuracy of the figures has been confirmed independently by Clackmannanshire Council and those with knowledge of the transactions.

Earlier this month administration leader Cllr Ellen Forson confirmed the building had been reclaimed by the local authority. She told a council meeting on August 19 of ambitions to rejuvenate the building as part of the ongoing Be The Future transformation programme.

She said at the time: “Clackmannanshire Council is now again the owner of Greenfield House and I will certainly be pushing forward my aspirations for it to be included in our transformation zones – and it’s my ambition that it’ll be centre of our City Deal programme moving forward.”

However, while the council may not have lost anything on the sale of the building, the fact it has been poorly maintained since passing into private ownership is likely to cost the local authority more in the long run.

The current state of the building is being appraised by building assessors, with a full report on its health to be reviewed by councillors in October.

Kapital, meanwhile, now appears to be an inactive company. Companies House records show that the Punlers are over eight months late in submitting the firm’s latest accounts. They could not be reached for comment.

Story by local democracy report Jon Brady

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