WILTSHIRE Council raised more than £31million in the past six years by selling off public assets including a children’s home and Salisbury’s former CCTV control room.

A collaborative investigation between Huffpost UK, regional journalists across the country and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) revealed the extent of council sales of public spaces and buildings in the UK.

In Wiltshire, 81 spaces were sold between 2012 and 2018, netting £31,546,000 for the council.

In Salisbury the highest value sales were for Orchard House, a former children’s home in Stratford sub Castle (£1,190,000) and Pennyfarthing House in Salisbury, an office building which previously housed the city’s CCTV control room (£1,170,000).

Other sales included 24 Endless Street and car park and Britford depot and paddock.

The BIJ said one in six councils in England had used the money from sales of buildings and land to pay for cost cutting measures since April 2016, with a third of funds spent going towards pay-offs in making staff redundant.

Reacting to the figures, Liberal Democrat leader Ian Thorn said: “I am surprised that the figure isn’t higher given that there were a lot of disposals with the creation of the unitary council.

“As buildings became surplus to requirement, I would have expected a lot of sales to be based around this.

“It is in the public interest for councils to realise the maximum value for the assets.

“Instead of thinking of it as selling off the silverware, it should be thought of as selling off the right bits of the silverware and if these sales are the best ones.”

Across England 12,008 publicly-owned assets have been sold since 2014/15, with sales totalling £2.8 billion.

To view the full list of sales by Wiltshire Council click here.