'A sell off on a massive scale': charity's warning over public buildings and spaces

The report has prompted calls for more public buildings and spaces to be transferred to community ownership. Credit: ITV News

More than a 150 public buildings and spaces are being sold off in the region every year, according to a new report.

The Locality charity says that most are being sold for private development and will never return to public use.

The charity is calling for an increase in the number of public buildings and spaces transferred to community ownership.

It says this would ensure that they are kept for use by the whole community, to provide a hub for local people and a source of vital services and support for generations to come.

More than 450 public buildings and spaces across the North West are being sold off a year, that's more than nine times the number of Sainsbury's supermarkets in the region. This is a sell off on a massive scale.

We know that many of the buildings being lost have valuable community uses. Every one of us can think of a local public building or outside space we love and use - from libraries to lidos and town halls to youth centres. They are owned by the public and they're being sold off for short term gain to fill holes in council budgets.

Across the North West local community groups are stepping up and fighting for community ownership. But they urgently need support and help with start-up costs if they are to compete with the commercial developers. Funding to support community ownership has dried up in recent years, and government, investors and charitable funders must come together to unlock a set-up fund for community ownership.

– Tony Armstrong, Locality