AN INVESTIGATION has shown that Northumberland County Council has made more than £20m from selling off public buildings and land in the last four years.

The figures were gathered through an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, along with with HuffPost UK and regional journalists across the country, which compiled data on more than 12,000 public spaces disposed of by councils since 2014/15.

The investigation showed that between 2014 and 2018, Northumberland Council sold public spaces for more than £20,455,323.

Nine of those were in Tynedale and Ponteland, with a total of £2,853,220 being made from those sales.

Notable sums include £751,000 made from the sale of Hexham’s old swimming pool site on Gilesgate, £744,720 from the sale of Ponteland Library and £500,000 made from the sale of Hexham Bus Station.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism said some local authorities had been using the money raised from selling off buildings and land to pay for hundreds of redundancies, some of them in vital frontline services.

Its investigation found that councils nationwide raised a total of £9.1 billion from selling property.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “Northumberland County Council, like almost every other local authority, has a substantial property portfolio and will always seek to make best use of its assets.

“Many buildings and plots of land came to the county council from the old district and borough councils and are of little use to us, costing us money to maintain for little to no benefit.

“There are a number of reasons why surplus properties and land will be sold, with our key aims being to return buildings to use, generate economic activity and to raise capital that can be invested in regenerating our towns and communities.

“These include multi-million pound investment in new schools and leisure centres across Northumberland.”

Property in Tynedale and Ponteland sold by Northumberland County Council between 2014 and 2018:

Hexham’s old swimming pool site on Gilesgate was sold in January 2018 for £751,000.

Ponteland Library was sold in August 2017 for £744,720.

Hexham Bus Station was sold for £500,000 in April 2017.

Prospect House and its grounds were sold in July 2017 for £460,000.

The former Greenholme care home in Haltwhistle was sold in February 2015 for £200,000.

Parking to the rear of Hexham Library at the Queen’s Hall was sold in July 2017 for £123,000.

Land at Regents Drive at the Low Prudhoe Industrial Estate was sold for £60,000 in May 2015.

Land at Rudchester Fort Ancient Monument & Archaeological Site was sold for £12,000 in November 2014.

Land at Bridge End Industrial Estate in Hexham was sold in May 2017 for £2,500.