Youth House sale may face a delay

By Ian Dipple Friday 17 January 2014 Updated: 17/01 09:52

THE SALE of Redditch Youth House could be put on hold because of concerns over the way the process was carried out.

Redditch North councillors Graham Vickery and Robin Lunn, which represent the area the Ipsley Street building is in, want clarification regarding a number of issues to do with the sale and have asked for the review.

The issue will be briefly discussed at a meeting at County Hall today (Friday) before being scrutinised in detail at a further meeting in March.

If substantial failings are found with the process then potentially it could have to be repeated.

The Standard reported in December how questions had been raised over the sale of the building, closed in 2012 as part of £1.4million of budget cuts by Worcestershire County Council.

Issues included why two bids from community groups were turned down even though one was believed to be just 13 per cent below market value, and why a third offer from a private entrepreneur which contained a community aspect was not considered properly.

There are also concerns about how the social benefit of bids was factored in to the value of the community offers made and allegations about information being leaked during the process.

It has also been claimed the final offer accepted was below the £225,000 asking price.

Coun Lunn told the Standard it was important issues raised were dealt with so they could be resolved before other buildings were sold in the future.

“We have concerns with how the sale was carried out from start to finish,” he said.

“We are stopping the sale for now but we can’t stop it permanently, but we want clear answers, particularly in relation to those bids in November.”

But a spokeswoman for the county council refused to confirm the sale of the building had been put on hold.

“The decision to sell Redditch Youth House was taken by Cabinet and, following a comprehensive marketing exercise, a preferred bidder has been identified.

“Agreement to the final details of the sale is delegated to the Head of Property Services. Referring the process to scrutiny does not, in itself, require the sale to be put on hold.”

She said they were unable to comment further on the specific details of the sale during the consultation period.

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