At least £13million has been pocketed by Gloucestershire’s seven councils from selling off dozens of public spaces and property to plug funding gaps.
Play areas, social clubs and a war memorial in Gloucestershire are among some of the properties and lands sold by councils to recover from a lack of money.
Local Government funding has been cut dramatically since 2010, and councils across the country have cashed in on new freedom over how they spend income from sales.
Between 2014 and 2018, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Forest of Dean and the Cotswold councils sold off 70 spaces collectively worth £13,342,943
Those that are most brow-raising are:
Gloucester: former play park, in Manor Park for £16,000.
Cheltenham: Old Bath Road public toilets for £40,000 and a Cemetery Lodge for an undisclosed price.
Stroud: Former Ambulance station site for £180,500
The Cotswolds: Chesterton social club for £500,000
Forest of Dean: Pubic open area and war memorial for £68,000
Gloucestershire County Council have sold 104 public land and properties over the same period, but did not disclose their values to the investigation.
Asked why, a spokesman said the county council did not want to “duplicate” figures as they are published on the HM Land Registry website.
Some of the public spaces and buildings the county council sold over the four-year period includes Painswick Fire Station, Hatherley day centre and Newent youth and community centre.
Cotswold District Council sold the least amount of land and property (4) but made the most money compared to other authorities in the county, at £6,287,854.
The properties and land that fetched the highest values were:
Cotswolds: Land at Roman Way for £3,765,855
Cotswolds: Lorry Park for £1,650,000
Cheltenham: St Pauls development (plots at Folley Gardens) for £1,382,305
Cheltenham: Midwinter site £1,023,826
Gloucester: Barbican Land, Ladybellegate Street for £850,000
According to the Local Government Association, councils will have lost almost 60 pence out of every pound the Government had provided for services.
A spokesperson for the Local Government Information Unit said councils were in danger of having to “sell off the family silver to stay afloat”.