Land Experts Raise £4.3 Million From Redundant Water Assets

Posted: Monday 16th January 2012

Scottish Water has received a multi-million pound boost to its operations from sales of its redundant assets, with help from experts at Bell Ingram, one of the UK’s leading land agents.

Bell Ingram has already helped dispose of 1500 sites and assets across Scotland which the utility giant no longer needs, generating £4.3 million in revenues to re-invest in Scottish Water’s operations.

Those sites were among a total of 2500 redundant assets identified across Scotland, including large water treatment works, assorted properties, disused land and water storage facilities.

Scottish Water follows rules laid down by the Scottish Government that require unused land to be sold for the best possible price for their customers.

Since 2006 Bell Ingram has handled the disposal of the sites, either by arranging for them to be auctioned by SVA Property Auctions or to be transferred to adjoining landowners.

Graham Lumby, director at Bell Ingram, said: “A total of 575 sites have been auctioned, raising more than £4.3 million, which Scottish Water has re-invested in its networks and services.

“Equally as important is the work we have carried out to successfully transfer or sell another 175 sites to adjacent landowners.

“Those transfers mean Scottish Water has no future costs or future liabilities for those sites, so it can re-invest savings back into its ongoing operations.”

Bell Ingram, which has its HQ in Perth, has more than 500,000 hectares of land under management and the vast experience and network of contacts has been a key to the successes to date.

Mr Lumby added: “Just putting a property on the market is not always the way to get the best possible results. We understand the issues and needs of land owners, which means more thoughtful arrangements to get the best possible result for both parties.

“When it comes to successful asset disposal, it is not just about selling or transferring sites either. We offer a full range of surveying, asset management and health & safety inspections to identify the best potential value for every redundant site that the client is keen to dispose of.

“We also help clients to fully review every site to determine whether there are actually any operational benefits that they had potentially missed during their initial reviews. In some cases, we identify sites that can be used again in the future or that have business value which was previously unidentified.

“We’ve used our full range of skills and services for Scottish Water and we look forward to continuing this important work with them over the coming years to ensure that all of its redundant assets are disposed of in the most efficient way possible.”

Scottish Water has a long-established relationship with SVA Property Auctions who have been acting for the utility giant and its predecessor Water Authorities since 1999. The auctioneer’s remit has expanded from simply bringing redundant properties to the market and selling them at auction, to a much more integral role from the outset, working hand-in-hand with the team from Bell Ingram.

Shaun Vigers, Director of SVA Property Auctions, said: “By working in partnership with Bell Ingram we have brought considerable momentum to Scottish Water’s long term programme of disposals. Without their outstanding project management skills, this already challenging task would have taken significantly longer to obtain cost savings and sale proceeds for re-investment by Scottish Water.”

Under the redundant assets project, all sites are initially inspected by Bell Ingram’s surveyors and reports for each site prepared for Scottish Water, which included description of each site, any health and safety risks, photos, plans and recommendation on value.

The surveying team has continued to re-inspect all sites on the register for health and safety risks, based on a programme of inspections agreed with Scottish Water’s health & safety department.

Bell Ingram has also undertaken full project management for the redundant assets scheme, including liaising with stakeholders, processing sites for auction, managing the database of assets, obtaining title reports for all sites or assets, and negotiating with landowners to obtain discharge of Scottish Water liabilities for non-marketable sites.

Chris Banks, Commercial Director, Scottish Water, said: "Scottish Water is committed to getting the best deal for our customers by ensuring we deliver increasing value for money."

Established in 1899, Bell Ingram is a multi-disciplined firm of chartered surveyors, forestry managers, estate agents, architects, building surveyors and energy specialists. With more than 130 professional staff across 11 UK offices they provide local knowledge with national coverage.

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