Disposal - Sales to named purchasers

A004 - Issue date - Under review

There must be good reasons for selling property otherwise than on the open market. Property will normally only be sold to named purchasers, provided that the council is satisfied that the price agreed is not less than could be reasonably obtained on the open market.

Sales to named purchasers are covered by the specific powers delegated to the Head of Property in the Constitution, in accordance with Section L Schedule Part (5) C Paragraph (f) (i).

A copy of the Constitution can be found on the council's website:
Paragraph (f) (i) provides that , except with the express agreement of the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, or if otherwise required by any statutory provision or specifically ordered by the council, no property estimated to exceed £25,000 in value shall be sold or otherwise disposed of except by public auction, sealed bid or by tender after public advertisement. Although it is not a constitutional requirement it has been agreed that approval is also needed from the Cabinet member for Finance (being responsible for property).

Additional comments

The letter to the Leader and Deputy Leader should indicate who the named purchaser is, the reason for selling it to them and other key relevant information. It would also be advisable to obtain the Leaders agreement to declare the property permanently surplus to requirements at the same time, to avoid having to write again (See Section A002/4 Declaring property surplus to council requirements).

Disposal of low value property

Low value property should only be sold after considering the following:

  • The purchaser should agree to cover the legal and surveyors fees;
  • Is it feasible or advisable to sell the land, consulting internally as appropriate;
  • Does the Crichel Down principles apply;
  • Whether any other party may wish to purchase the property and if so, whether there are particular reasons why the property should be sold to one party rather than on the open market.

For information, a Good Practice Guidance Note for dealing with minor disposals was issued in September 2002 by the Association of Chief Estate Surveyors and Property Managers in Local Government (ACES).

Rural exception sites

The county council wishes to support district council's in their provision of affordable housing. Generally, favourable consideration will be given to requests to dispose of land under district councils "exceptions policies", whereby land may be given planning permission for development for affordable housing when consent would not otherwise be granted for any other type of housing.

However, there will need to be an assessment of the development potential of the land and it should not be sold at less than its value, having regard to its medium term value or hope value.

Requests to purchase land under this policy should always be referred to the Leader / Deputy Leader or the Executive.

Further details

Further details can be obtained from:

Strategic Asset Management Team
Property and Facilities
Environment & Economy

Tel: 01865 810427
Email: sam.team@oxfordshire.gov.uk


Legal Services
Corporate Core

Tel: 01865 810815
Email: fionnula.chamberlain@oxfordshire.gov.uk