Hammersmith and Fulham Council to sell eight buildings
- 8 February 2011
- From the section London
A west London council is hoping to raise about £14m by selling off eight buildings to help pay off its debts.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has approved proposals to sell Fulham Town Hall, the Irish Cultural Centre and six other buildings across the borough.
The move is part of a drive to pay the council's £133m debt and help preserve front-line services.
The proposals include the sale of Palingswick House, which houses local voluntary organisations.
The council has confirmed that one of the parties interested in buying Palingswick House is the West London Free School, which is championed by a number of local parents including journalist Toby Young.
The lease on Hammersmith Irish Cultural Centre will not be renewed and the council is encouraging it to move to self-sufficiency, along the lines of the nearby Polish Centre.
Sitting tenants, the Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith, have first right of refusal to buy the property, but it will be sold on the open market if the organisation fails to raise the funds.
A separate report recommends approval of the sale of the Sands End Community Centre, with a decision on another building deferred.
A council spokesperson said the sales would proceed slowly to give community organisations a chance to buy buildings.
The decision follows consultation over the autumn on the proposals and on the relocation of the organisations affected.
Speaking ahead of the decision, council leader Stephen Greenhalgh said he understood the difficulties some people have had in coming to terms with the proposals.
"The reality is, we have no choice but to reduce our spending," he said.
"Our residents expect us to focus our resources on services, not debt and the scale of our debt is simply unaffordable."
The decision to approve the sales was made at a council meeting on Monday evening.