A swimming pool and day centre have been sold off in Bexley as the council made more than £10m flogging land in recent years.

In a major new expose by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, councils across the country were found to be selling land off as they deal with austerity.

Locally, Bexley Council has been found to have sold 11 sites, raking in millions between 2014 and 2016.

The council said sales saved money long-term and helped build houses.

During that period the council made £10.7m – the biggest sales being Hill View in Hill View Drive for £6.3m and the Riverside Swimming Centre for £2.2m, sold in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Hill View was a former school which had been adapted for use by the council’s education and community staff.

MORE - Bexley council tax to rise as budget agreed for this year

Another sell-off was part of 8 Brampton Road, the home of the Voluntary Service Council, which was let go for £1.6m in 2016.

Crayford Day Centre in London Road was flogged for £350k, while land behind Bexleyheath Broadway was disposed of for £122k.

The council said it is constantly reviewing its assets to see what is still needed.

A spokesman said: “Some of the disposals listed were part of our ‘Bexley First’ programme.

“This brought the vast majority of council staff together into the former Woolwich building in Bexleyheath, saving around £2 million of revenue expenditure a year.

“The sites we no longer needed were sold and developed with new housing, notably in Slade Green and Welling.

“The other assets are a mixture of sites which we identified as surplus to our requirements as part of our normal asset review process.

“Our strategic use and disposal of assets has helped ensure a number of new homes have been built in the borough.

“When we dispose of land, we use the income we receive to fund the council’s ongoing capital programme of investment, which currently totals £150m.”

Other transactions carried out by the council included:

  • Land in Lower Road, Belvedere, sold for £162k
  • 6 Cray Buildings in Foots Cray High Street, sold for £46k
  • An electricity sub station in Welling, sold for £12k.
  • Land between 151 and 153 Sherwood Park Avenue in Sidcup, for £1,750
  • Another electrical substation n Foots Cray Lane, sold for £9k. 
  • Ground rent of 54-72 Thanet Road, sold for £12,500

The major investigation, which was done with help from the Huffington Post, found a link between land sales and redundancies – however this was not the case in Bexley.

The BOIJ compiled data on more than 12,000 public spaces disposed of by councils since 2014/15.

The investigation found that councils raised £9.1 billion from sales as they tried to combat years of budget squeezes by central government.

Speaking to the BOIJ, Khalid Mahmood, MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, said: “We should never have been selling the land that we have inherited from our forefathers…] It just takes the future away from our children and grandchildren to come and that is really devastating.”

MORE - St Olave's: Ofsted sees big improvements at grammar school

Bexley Council has a number of sites lined up for development by BexleyCo, its house-building company, including Old Farm Park in Sidcup.

West Street small car park, Felixstowe Road car park, 221 Erith Road and land at Lesney Park Road are also in line for new houses built by the company.

The council says BexleyCo will be important to its ambitious growth strategy – which proposes 31,000 homes by 2050.