Councils may have to buy back key development sites from scrapped One North East

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A BATTLE is on to prevent a multimillion-pound bill being passed to taxpayers in order to save key regional assets.

The decision to scrap One North East means that if local councils want to keep its assets, including Stadium Park in Sunderland –- which was planned to become a sports village –- and Durham’s former ice rink, they must buy them from One North East and pay stamp duty on the purchases.

If this is enforced it will add a bill of tens of millions of pounds to councils that are already facing the largest spending cuts in a generation.

The money from the sales is likely to go to the Department for Communities and Local Government and in some cases councils will be able to “buy” the site now, but only actually hand over money for it if and when they sell it on themselves.