Libraries sell-off could raise £500,000 for Sunderland council

Hendon Library one of those that has closed.
Hendon Library one of those that has closed.
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The sale of libraries could bring in £500,000 for Sunderland City Council as it continues to sell off its assets.

Change of use for former libraries will net the six-figure sum as part of a council ‘property rationalisation programme’, which has seen the authority sell off or lease assets to help with financial restraints.

Of the nine sites, three are currently being leased for community and charity projects, while four have been sold off for housing or commercial developments.

The council is also looking at the remaining two for potential lease to other parties.

The Echo reported back in 2013 that such sales were a result of the council being forced to make savings of £100million due to Government budget cuts.

Three have been sold for commercial use, such as offices or studios.

That includes the sale of Monkwearmouth Library, in Church Street, for a capital receipt of £65k.

Southwick Library, in Beaumont Street, was also sold for a total of £75k, and Washington Green Library, on The Green, Washington, has been sold for £150k.

A sale is progressing for a new housing development on the site of the former East Herrington library in Atlantis Road, for capital receipt of about £150k.

Sunderland Council is also working on proposals for sale of Easington Lane library, for a development opportunity – which is expected to bring in £50k.

A Sunderland City Council spokesman said: “As part of a property rationalisation programme, and with the current financial restraints it is operating under, the council continues to market sites and assets.

“This is where it is appropriate to achieve best value and to help support operational efficiencies.”

Hendon Library, in Toward Road, is under community rent and is being used by charity Back on the Map, which provides various courses, a community library and hub for residents.

The council is also looking at possibilities to lease Silksworth library in Vane Street.

Fence Houses is under a temporary lease to the YMCA, to be included within a development site and Doxford Park Library is on lease to Age UK Centre.

Councillor Michael Mordey, Labour representative for the Hendon ward, said: “Hendon library was closed in October 2013 and was taken over in April 2014.

“It has become such as vital heart of the Hendon Community and is a model of how the community can take control of its assets, as the community has really taken it to heart.”

“It is not standing idle.”