Northamptonshire County Council should consider using properties for children’s homes instead of ‘selling them off’

The county council is selling off Grendon Hall
The county council is selling off Grendon Hall

Northamptonshire County Council should review all the properties it owns to see whether they can be better utilised to offer accommodation for children in care.

The authority spent more than £15million last year placing children in care homes outside the county, and Councillor Jonathan Ekins called for the council to carry out a review of all its properties to see whether they can be used for accommodation for children.

He made the request at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on July 31 at One Angel Square.

He said: “We own these properties. Why are we selling properties and why have councillors not got view of these decisions so that we can agree or disagree on whether to sell them? Because we can use them.

“Why sell off Grendon Hall that’s already a residential hall? It’s got individual rooms and for a little money you could turn it into secured accommodation, general accommodation or bedsits. Surely that’s better than sending children out of county?”

The council officially closed the popular education and activity centre at Grendon Hall in March, and it is currently being advertised for sale on the RightMove website.

A council spokesman said: “A cabinet decision was made in December 2017 to attempt to find a buyer for Grendon Hall as a going concern as an outdoor learning centre.

“The decision was made that if this wasn’t possible the outdoor learning centre should close. Unfortunately, despite ongoing efforts to find a suitable buyer, the centre closed in March 2019 and the building is now actively being marketed for sale.”