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006/2015: Solberge site: Disposal & Lease – 17 June 2015

Executive Summary and recommendation:

The Commissioner is asked to take a decision to dispose of the current NYP Solberge Estate by accepting an offer that has been received in respect of the entire site  

(Full details of the offer is included in part 2, commercially sensitive)

For some time, Solberge Cottage had been identified for disposal by the estates team based on future operational requirement.

However, disposal is not straight forward because the Cottage is situated on the wider Solberge site which incorporates operational police premises, a dog kennelling and training area, and which can only be accessed via a secure police gateway and private road.

A local land-owner, who owns and occupies an adjacent property, has made an approach to purchase the whole Solberge site, including Solberge Cottage.  This land owner is in a unique position, as they can access the site directly via their own land.

North Yorkshire Police anticipates that whilst the Solberge site is operationally necessary at present,  the kennelling and training aspect of the Dog Section could potentially be relocated elsewhere at some time in the future. If this were to happen, the whole site would then be available for disposal.

Taking these factors into account, it is proposed that the entire site be sold to the land-owner, and that North Yorkshire Police enters into a one year lease agreement at a peppercorn rent, which would allow current police operations on the site to continue.  The agreement would include an option to break at any time during the lease, exercisable by NYP only, and a waiver over the landowner’s right-of-way over the access road during the term of lease.

Recommendation:  That the Commissioner approves the sale of the Solberge site with the lease arrangements as set out above.

Police and Crime Commissioner decision: Approved

Signature: signature
Date: 17 June 2015
Title: Police and Crime Commissioner

Part 1– Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

Introduction and background

Solberge Cottage is surplus to operational requirements and has been scheduled for disposal for some time.

To date this has not been possible because the cottage is situated on the wider Solberge site which incorporates dog kennelling and a training area, and which can only be accessed via a secure police gateway and private road.  Use of the gateway and road would bring the owner into close proximity with policing activity which may disturb NYP operations.

A local land-owner who occupies adjacent land made an approach to purchase the whole site, and this proposal was explored in light of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s responsibility to ensure best value in the disposal of an asset.  It was determined that disposal of the site to the land-owner would be appropriate, permissible and lawful.

Given the uniqueness of the circumstances, the land-owner’s offer is the most viable and best value option for the disposal of Solberge Cottage, and the surrounding site.

Matters for consideration

  • The planning authority has suggested that the cottage has been abandoned in planning terms, which means any owner would have to gain planning permission to use the property for residential purposes.
  • If the site is sold as suggested with a one year lease, and NYP subsequently needs to extend the lease, there is a risk that the landowner may not wish to do so, or may increase the peppercorn rent. This would then mean NYP would have to vacate the site and find alternative accommodation.
  • The sale could be completed within four – eight weeks. This would mean the one year lease could commence as early as July 2015 and come to an end in July 2016.

Other options considered

It is anticipated that the Evolve Programme (the strategic collaboration with Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary) may impact on the future need for the functional policing activity currently at the Solberge site.  However the Evolve Programme is at too early a stage for this to be known definitively at the present time.

Consideration has been made on whether this is the right time for the sale, or whether it may be beneficial to wait on the assumption that the site could be offered for sale with vacant position at some time in the future.  However, this possibility is not certain, and there is no guarantee of sale at auction even with vacant possession. Taking these factors into account, together with the access issues and the valuation range, the received offer would seem to be the best value option.

Contribution to Police and Crime Plan outcomes

The recommendations in this Decision Notice are offered on the basis that they will fully support the Police and Crime Plan priorities, in that they will allow the organisation to configure its resources more effectively, in alignment with those priorities.

Consultations carried out

The content of this paper has been informed by:

  • Richard Flint – Head of Estates, Logistics & Technology
  • Jonathan Garrett – Estates Manager
  • Superintendent Phil Cain – Operational link for Estates
  • DCC Tim Madgwick
  • Superintendent Andy McMillan

Financial Implications/Value for money

NYP has commissioned a valuation of the site which has been undertaken by the same organisation that regularly values all of the properties owned by the PCC. The PCC’s CFO has read the document and is sighted on the values contained within the report. Based on the contents of the valuation document the PCC can take assurance that the method of disposal while slightly unusual, in that it hasn’t been subject to the open market, does not place the organisation and therefore the public purse in a detrimental position.

The financial offer made for the sale of the property is at the top end of the range that the PCC could have expected to receive on the ‘open market’ as indicated within the valuation report. When this is taken in account along with the lease back arrangements and the avoidance of costs that would be incurred in advertising the property for sale then the PCC can take assurance in making this decision that value for money is being achieved.

Chief Constables Chief Finance Officer Comments:

The total proceeds, including the value of the lease, are in line with the figures included in the Estates Strategy paper.

Legal Implications

Having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, the Acting Force Solicitor and Head of Legal Services is satisfied that this report does not ask the PCC for North Yorkshire to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.

The operational need for the lease for at least a year could present a problem if sold to anyone other than the current land owner of the neighbouring site due to access issues and the financial offer together with the lease back option satisfies the achievement of value for money as explained above.  The conveyancing will be done as business as usual as part of the project.

Equality Implications

Human Resources Implications

It is not believed that there are any immediate, people related impacts, of this decision notice given the proposals made about a continuing lease agreement for use of premises at this site.  However as this is only a temporary arrangement consideration will have to be given to the correct and timely communications and consultation processes in consideration of the staff based at this site.

Public Access to information 

The Police and Crime Commissioner wishes to be as open and transparent as possible about the decisions he/she takes or are taken in his/her name. All decisions taken by the Commissioner will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

As a general principle, the Commissioner expects to be able to publish all decisions taken and all matters taken into account and all advice received when reaching the decision. Part 1 of this Notice will detail all information which the Commissioner will disclose into the public domain. The decision and information in Part 1 will be made available on the NYPCC web site within 2 working days of approval.

Only where material is properly classified as restricted under the GPMS or if that material falls within the description at 2(2) of The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 will the Commissioner not disclose decisions and/or information provided to enable that decision to be made. In these instances, Part 2 of the Form will be used to detail those matters considered to be restricted.  Information in Part 2 will not be published.

Part 2

Is there a Part 2 to this Notice – YES

If Yes, what is the reason for restriction – Commercial restrictions

Originating Officer Declaration

Author name: Richard Flint, Head of Estates, Logistics and Technology

Collar number:  5960

  Name      (Collar Number) Date of completion (√)
Head of DepartmentHas reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities. Joanna Carter(Chief Executive Officer)


Legal AdviceLegal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge or such risk is outlined in Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice. Jane Wintermeyer


Financial AdviceThe PCC CFO has been consulted on this proposal, for which budgetary provision already exists or is to be made in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice. Michael



Equalities AdviceThere are no equalities implications as a result of the disposal of this site


Richard Flint5960 08.06.15
HR AdviceHR advice has been sought in relation to any people related matters


Rosie Holmes 4647 09.06.15


I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision 

Signature          Richard Flint                        Date 5th May 2015


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