£300k empty properties bill is defended by council bosses

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Sheffield Council has defended a decision to retain empty properties – which have racked up costs including business rates totalling £300,000 this financial year.

The authority has made cuts including closing Don Valley to save £700,000 and is preparing to axe libraries.

Nalin Seneviratne, Sheffield Council’s director of capital and major projects, said: “Currently the council owns a lot of property and at a time when we need to save money we have to look at whether we are making the best use of our assets.

“Timing is a key issue for the disposal of property. It would be wrong to simply sell off all property as soon as it becomes surplus.

“Some buildings can be used for other purposes and others can be sold, but in some cases we need to wait for the right time.”