Revealed: The thousands of public spaces sold by cash-strapped councils

14 March 2019 — Bureau of Investigative Journalism

12,000+ public buildings and spaces
sold off in the last five years

In a major collaboration involving dozens of reporters around the country and a week of stories with Huff Post UK, the Bureau revealed the true scale of the local government funding crisis. It has become so dire that councils are being forced to sell thousands of public spaces, such as libraries, community centres and playgrounds – and many are using the money to fund redundancies. Read the full investigation here.

What has your council sold?

Explore the project…


Our Bureau Local team is the central hub of a collaborative reporting network with more than 900 members. Dozens of them took part in this investigation, producing more than 40 regional stories looking at how council sell-offs had affected particular areas. Visit our interactive story map to explore them.

#SoldFromUnderYou

Check the hashtag to find more stories and join the discussion on Twitter

Concerned? What can you do?

Share our stories Explore the full project here and share the stories with those in your community, whether it be via email, social media, or on a community forum. Remember to use the hashtag #SoldFromUnderYou.

Use our map as evidence Explore our interactive map to find out what’s been sold off in your local area – if you’re concerned about the results you can write to your council and your MP to raise the issue. Or if you have information about a particular building or space that has been sold off, let us know.

Safeguard the future If you know of local buildings or spaces under threat, you can tell Locality, who coordinate the #SaveOurSpaces campaign, and who advise what communities can do to save public spaces.

Support the Bureau We rely on grants and donations to carry out all of our work. If you like what we do, please consider making a donation.

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