Last edited 28 Aug 2014

Government property finder

On 20 August 2014, the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) within the Cabinet Office launched a new Government Property Finder which enables people to search the government’s property portfolio.

This is seen as a part of the government’s Right to Contest initiative which allows businesses, local authorities and members of the public, to challenge the government to sell a site where they think it is not being used effectively. Cases are only rejected if government departments can demonstrate that the site is vital for operational purposes or that alternative considerations outweigh the potential for better economic use. This extended a previous right, the Community Right to Reclaim Land which allows communities the right to ask that under-used or unused land owned by public bodies is brought back into beneficial use.

The Right to Contest is intended to facilitate development of publicly-owned sites to boost local growth and to contribute to paying down the deficit.

The Government Property Finder is described as an ‘…easy-to-use tool that maps government property and land … For the first time ever, you can search the government’s property portfolio listing everything from ambulance stations to vacant airfields’, suggesting that it ‘…supports the government’s aims to increase transparency, save money and support regeneration and growth.’

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude, said ‘As part of our long-term plan for a stronger economy we are slashing our own costs and getting the most out the property we own. Since the 2010 general election we have got out of 1,250 properties, but we need to do more. We want the public to use this new map and the Right to Contest to challenge us to release properties we are not using efficiently enough to cut the deficit, support growth and provide more houses.’

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