The possibility of selling the Broadbridge Heath Quadrant, and its impact on Horsham District Council’s future budget, was discussed at a meeting on Monday (January 6).
Members of the council’s Finance and Performance Working Group considered whether the land should be sold despite the property market not being strong.
Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough) explained the piece of land which includes the leisure centre and Tesco buildings had been valued at up to £35m.
But, he added, in the current market a figure of £15m to £20m would be more realistic.
He said: “We always talk of selling the family jewels off. Is selling the family jewels the way forward, particularly when the prices aren’t so hot?’’
Stuart Ritchie (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham) said: “It doesn’t take account of speculation and risk over a five year period.
“I am not wholly convinced we can just say ‘we think it is going to go up (in value) so we should keep it’. I think there is more to do than just that.”
Roger Arthur (UKIP, Chanctonbury) reminded councillors that there was no rush to make a decision on the future of the quadrant.
He said: “If you were operating as a private company you would try to get the best possible advice before taking action.
“To make a decision now means we make up our minds to sell it - and we might not.”
Frances Haigh (LDem, Horsham Park) agreed a decision should be reserved until councillors ‘have an overall picture of what is happening’.
John Chidlow (Con, Southwater) said: “If you have decided you have to sell at a particular time frame, the market dictates it.”