Land and unit sell-offs to lead to business and houses boost

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Pockets of council-owned land will be freed up for new housing after it was agreed they could be sold on to developers.

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet has agreed to the disposal of land off Nookside in Grindon and a section of land off Birchwood in South Hylton.

The decision means an option will be granted to buy the freehold interest of the land, with Keepmoat in line to purchase it “at a price which is the best reasonably attainable”, with the terms to be agreed by the executive director or commercial development and in consultation with the council leader Paul Watson and cabinet secretary Councillor Mel Speding.

Council papers state the builder wants to provide “specialist housing” and will give the council capital, as well as income through additional council tax and the New Homes Bonus.

It will also mean it will be relieved of the ongoing maintenance cost of the site.

The document also says it would be appropriate to deal with Keepmoat, as it plans to enter into a joint venture with Thirteen Group to bring its adjoining site forward.

Gentoo Homes wants to buy the land off Birchwood, which is already the developer of the neighbouring site at the former Ford Oval housing estate, with the same terms set out in the documents.

The council has also agreed to the disposal of Unit E in Colima Avenue in Sunderland Enterprise Park in North Hylton.

The former operational training centre is not being used and is surplus to the council’s needs.

Kail and Company Ltd, a local precision engineering company, has approached the council and has expressed an interest in buying it.

The council has said this meets the council’s obligation to get the best price for its property, with its sale to give the authority a boost through business rates, insurance and security, as well as relieving it of costs for its upkeep.

The move would also allow Kail to expand, which will also benefit the city.

The unit is next door to Rapier House and opposite Loftus House on the business estate.