VIDEO: Fury over plans to sell off village car park

1
Have your say

A community has been told it must stump up £10,000 to buy a council-owned car park if it wants to keep it, despite being offered it for free 10 months ago.

Rainworth residents have been up in arms since discovering the car park, off Southwell Road East, was being put up for auction.

Local shopkeepers, feel it could be the demise of their businesses if sold off.

Now, because of the backlash, Nottinghamshire County Council has agreed to defer the auction and has offered the parish council the chance to buy it.

However, it was offered the car park for free 10 months ago, but felt it was in need of work and turned the offer down.

The parish council say the first it knew about the auction was when the sign appeared before Christmas.

Chairman of the parish council, Mark Buttery, said the county council gave no hint of its plans to sell the car park, and would have taken it had they known.

The parish council has now organised a meeting for this evening, Wednesday 14th January, where they will discuss financing a possible deal.

Possibilities include raising the local precept and paying the £10,000 over five or 10 years.

Coun Buttery said: “This money can’t be plucked out of the air, we haven’t got £10,000 to fork out, but we will hopefully come to some agreement.

“We have to negotiate, we need more facts and figures before we decide.”

Resident Mark Kistner said: “This car park is a vital asset to Rainworth, people rely on it and there’s nowhere else to park in the centre.

“If it was sold off, there would be nowhere for people to park.

“It should not be sold off under any circumstances.”

Andrew Stevens, property group manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The car park was identified as being surplus to the council’s requirements at the beginning of last year.

“Managing public car parks is normally carried out by parish or district councils so the land was initially offered, for a nominal fee, to Rainworth Parish Council in March last year, so that it could continue as a car park - but our offer was rejected.

“In October, the county council introduced an asset transfer policy, which ensures cases like this are dealt with consistently and in the best interests of the taxpayer.

“Our policy aims that the council always receives the full market value for its assets, unless a business case can be made which demonstrates how the transfer at lower value could help the council deliver its priorities. All capital receipts received by the county council go back into providing essential county council services.

“As the parish council was unwilling to take ownership of the car park, the land has been advertised for sale via auction.

“There remains an opportunity for the parish council to buy the land prior to the auction date at the end of January. However, any proposal to buy the land at below market value will need to be accompanied by supporting information that justifies a sale at this ‘under-value’.”