Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority has sold 18 former landfill sites, comprising 526 acres, to Landcare for an undisclosed sum.
Agreements were completed on 17 December 2012 for full freehold and environmental responsibility to pass to Landcare at the outset. Operational support will be provided by Landcare's sister company Thornton Facilities Management.
The deal follows a selection process undertaken by GMWDA and its advisor Jones Lang LaSalle.
Landcare specialises in providing 'managed exits' to a variety of blue chip clients in the UK and Europe, seeking to divest redundant liability 'Brownfield' sites. The company is part of the wider NPL Group.
Cllr Neil Swannick, GMWDA chairman, said "We signed the 25 year Recycling and Waste Management Contract to manage the authority's waste with Viridor Laing in April 2009. The next logical step was to look at better ways to manage the former landfill sites.
"The sites were a legacy from the past when the majority of waste was disposed directly to landfill. The Authority was very clear that a sale with on-going commitment to proactive site management was the priority."
Simon Towers, Landcare's group managing director, said: "A number of the sites are enjoyed by local communities and our aim is to enhance partnership arrangements and be a visible, responsive and responsible company.
"We will look at ways in which sites can be enhanced through funding and in some cases through redevelopment, but our core focus is retaining the levels of care and maintenance and ensuring that the sites continue to no longer pose a risk to the environment."
John Lafferty, associate director of planning and development at Jones Lang LaSalle in Manchester, said: "We have been advising on the scheme for a considerable period. It is complex because of the diverse nature of assets being sold as a single transaction."
The change in ownership will result in minor visible changes to the appearance of the sites at the outset, including the erection of signage with contact details for Landcare asking members of the public to report antisocial behaviour and fly tipping.
Landcare are planning an interactive website for interested parties to learn more about planned activities and maintenance, and will post blogs and ideas for enhancement.
Landcare was advised by Squire Sanders (UK) LLP's partner Mark Gaffne.
The 18 sites are:
- Cox Green, Egerton
- Red Moss, Horwich
- Drinkwater Park, Prestwich
- Pink Bank Lane, Gorton
- Deanshut Clough, Ashton-Under-Lyne
- Hardman Fold, Failsworth
- Peel Lane, Rochdale
- Brookhouse, Eccles
- Carrington Street, Swinton
- Lumns Lanem, Swinton
- Adswood, Cheadle Hulme
- Ash Road, Droylsden
- Glent Quarry, Heyrod
- St Annes Road, Tameside
- Dunkirk Lane, Hyde
- Cob Kiln Lane, Urmston
- Chester Road, Stretford
- Torbay Road, Trafford