Dear Somerset County Council,

I understand that Hestercombe House was recently sold for £1. I found this extraordinary.

Can you disclose:

If any market valuations have been undertaken of Hestercombe House, if so, when, by whom and how much did they value the asset for?

Why the Council chose to sell for a £1 when, if they had used a simple open market auction for example, they would have at least, presumably, maximised their return - as there must have be someone willing to pay more than £1 for it?

If SCC are about to sell off anything else of clear value for a £1, and if so, when?

Yours faithfully,

Tony Morris

Somerset Direct - FOI, Somerset County Council

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Somerset Direct - FOI, Somerset County Council

Good Afternoon Tony,

Thank you for contacting Somerset County Council. I have logged your FOI request with the relevant department. Your reference number is 2342905. If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us again.

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show quoted sections

Business Development - Resources, Somerset County Council

Link: [1]File-List

Somerset Direct Reference: 2342905

Internal Reference: 1650

Date request received: 13/02/2013

Date response due: 13/03/2013

 

Dear Mr Morris

 

Thank you for your request for information of which we are dealing with
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  We are currently dealing with
your request and will be in touch shortly concerning disclosure of the
information you have requested.

 

The legislation obliges us to provide you with this information within 20
working days, so we will endeavour to send our response to you by 13
March 2013.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Communications Team

FOI / EIR Co-ordinator

Tel: 01823 355584,

Email: [2][email address].uk 

Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY

URL: [3]www.somerset.gov.uk

 

FOI Disclosure Log URL: [4]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

 

This email, and any attachments is intended solely for the individual to
whom it is addressed. It may contain personal and / or sensitive material
and should be handled according to the principles of the Data Protection
Act 1998. If this email carries a protective marking of PROTECT or
RESTRICTED in the header it should be handled according to HMG guidelines,
if not protectively marked it can be regarded as UNCLASSIFIED.

If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately.
If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute,
copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached,
and all copies must be deleted immediately. 

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses,
any attachments to this email may nevertheless contain viruses which our
anti-virus software has failed to identify.  You should therefore carry
out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents.  Somerset
County Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer
viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this
email.

All GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
accordance with relevant legislation.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/cid:filelist.xml@01CDF89B.3CA15DC0
2. mailto:[email address]
3. file:///tmp/www.somerset.gov.uk
4. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

Business Development - Resources, Somerset County Council

Somerset Direct Reference: 2342905

Internal Reference: 1650

Date request received: 13/02/2013

Date response due: 13/03/2013

Date of response: 07/03/2013

 

Dear Mr Morris

 

I am writing in respect of your recent request for information from
Somerset County Council, which has been dealt with under the provisions of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

I can confirm that we do hold the information that you are seeking and we
are able to provide it to you.

 

Our response is detailed in bold format underneath your questions as
follows.

 

Q1.  I understand that Hestercombe House was recently sold for £1.  Could
you tell me if any market valuations have been undertaken of Hestercombe
House, if so, when, by whom and how much did they value the asset for?

 

A1.  The DVS valued the property on 11 July 2012 at £950,000.  Chesterton
Humberts valued the property on 12 July 2012 at £500,000 to £750,000

 

Q2.  Please state why the Council chose to sell for £1 when, if they had
used a simple open market auction for example, they would have at least,
presumably, maximised their return - as there must have been someone
willing to pay more than £1 for it?

 

A2.  The Council is transferring the property under its Community Asset
Transfer Policy.
[1]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/irj/go/km/doc...

 

The transfer reflects the restrictions the County Council is placing on
the building and therefore is not directly comparable to a sale in the
open market.  The Council was keen for ownership of the building to pass
to a body which is capable of addressing the maintenance issues, which are
estimated at over £2m and take on the annual running bills which were
costing the Council over £200,000 per annum.  The Council also did not
want to break up the heritage asset and split the ownership from the
adjoining gardens.

 

Central government has made a commitment to empower citizens by
transferring the ownership and management of public sector land and assets
to community organisations.  The emergence of the localism and 'Big
Society' agendas and financial pressures under the present Government is
driving awareness and appetite within community groups resulting in an
increase in enquiries.  The latest central government commitments are/will
be supported by existing and planned legislation.

 

Councils have long had the authority to transfer buildings and land into
community management or ownership.  This can be at full market value
although The Local Government Act 1972: General Disposal Consent 2003 also
allows local authorities to transfer land or buildings at less than market
value provided the transfer is likely to contribute to the “promotion or
improvement” of the economic, social or environmental well-being of the
area, and the difference between market value and actual price paid is
less than £2 million.

 

Q3.  Please state if SCC are about to sell off anything else of clear
value for a £1, and if so, when?

 

A3.  The Council is dealing with a number of applications for the transfer
of assets as Community Assets, which will transfer at varying times once
it has been satisfied the application meets the Council's requirements. 
The Council publishes a list of all its assets at:
[2]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/irj/go/km/doc...

 

If you feel your request has not been answered in sufficient detail or if
you wish to clarify the information given, please contact me and I will be
happy to address the issues you raise.

 

If you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been dealt
with, or the information you have received, you can ask for an internal
review of our decision.

 

Please send your request to:

 

Peter Grogan, Information Governance Team, Client Services

Somerset County Council, A2 West, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4DY
or email [3][email address]

 

Please quote the reference number 2342905 in any future communications.

 

An internal review will then be carried out and we will write to you with
the results of our investigation. If you are not content with the outcome
of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office ([4]www.ico.gov.uk) for an appeal.  The Information
commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113

 

Finally, please be aware that your response will appear, without your
contact details, on the Council’s website at:

 

[5]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Lucy Wilkins

 

Communications Team

FOI / EIR co-ordinator

Tel: 01823 355584,

Email: [6][email address].uk 

Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY

URL: [7]www.somerset.gov.uk

 

FOI Disclosure Log URL: [8]http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

 

This email, and any attachments is intended solely for the individual to
whom it is addressed. It may contain personal and / or sensitive material
and should be handled according to the principles of the Data Protection
Act 1998. If this email carries a protective marking of PROTECT or
RESTRICTED in the header it should be handled according to HMG guidelines,
if not protectively marked it can be regarded as UNCLASSIFIED.

If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately.
If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute,
copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached,
and all copies must be deleted immediately. 

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses,
any attachments to this email may nevertheless contain viruses which our
anti-virus software has failed to identify.  You should therefore carry
out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents.  Somerset
County Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer
viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this
email.

All GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in
accordance with relevant legislation.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/irj/go/km/doc...
http://www.somerset.gov.uk/irj/go/km/doc...
2. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/irj/go/km/doc...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. file:///tmp/www.ico.gov.uk
5. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog
6. mailto:[email address]
7. file:///tmp/www.somerset.gov.uk
8. http://www.somerset.gov.uk/disclosurelog

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