WARRINGTON Borough Council (WBC) sold 27 buildings and pieces of land for more than £2.7 million between 2014 and 2018, it has been revealed.

As part of a collaborative investigation with HuffPost UK and regional journalists, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has compiled data on more than 12,000 public spaces disposed of by councils since 2014.

The investigation revealed that local authorities raised £9.1 billion from selling assets during this period.

The bureau says the local government funding crisis ‘has become so dire’ that councils are ‘being forced’ to sell thousands of public spaces, such as libraries, community centres and playgrounds.

It adds some local authorities are using the money raised from selling off buildings and land to pay for hundreds of redundancies, including in vital frontline services.

The investigation found that between 2014 and 2018, WBC sold 27 buildings and pieces of land for more than £2.7 million.

Plots nine, 10 and 11 at Farrell Street Industrial Estate were the most expensive deal, after the council sold them for £1.2 million in November 2017.

Land and buildings on the east side of Admirals Road was the second most expensive after being sold for £292,667 in June 2017, while the Harrison Centre was the third most expensive after selling for £194,780 in 2016.

Pieces of land – including land on Longshaw Street, Ellesmere Street and Hadleigh Close – have also been sold for £1.

But the council insists it has not sold off any property to help fund services due to austerity, or to fund redundancy costs.

A spokesman said: “It is important that it is made absolutely clear that the council has not sold off any property to help with austerity, nor do we expect to have to.”

In relation to sites being sold for £1, he added: “These are sites where land has been sold to utility companies to provide substations for council developments.

“There are also sites which we have sold to allow them to be brought back into use, as open space amenities for the public, where title restrictions prevent any other use and restrict their value.”