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Glasgow City Council

Frequently asked questions

What is State Aid?

State aid is any advantage granted by public authorities through state resources on a selective basis to any economic undertaking, with the effect of potentially distorting competition and trade in the European Union (EU). The definition of State aid is very broad because 'an advantage' can take many forms.  The State aid rules are contained within Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and further clarified  by the European Commission in Regulations and guidance. The European Commission's role is to ensure Member States comply with the rules, and many aid measures must be notified to the Commission for approval.  The UK Government have produced a basic guide to this

Who is the District Valuer and what was his role?

District Valuer Services (the DV) is the specialist property arm of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). They provide independent valuation and professional property advice to bodies across the entire public sector, and where public money or public functions are involved.The District Valuer was instructed to give an initial high level desktop opinion and comments on value for various properties and a report dated January 2005 was used as a starting point for negotiations with the Club.

As we have mentioned above, the District Valuer's preliminary report was drafted prior to the costs for abnormals and ground conditions being agreed and full inspections of the properties being carried out. 

What did Celtic pay for Westthorn?

The disposal figure was agreed at £675,000.  When the sale was completed in April 2009, an inflationary uplift was added to this sum giving an actual sale price of £739,500.  The retrospective independent valuation carried out in 2014 concluded that the site was actually only worth £200,000.

Why wasn't the site put up for sale on the open market?

The Council has various options when disposing of it land and property which include, amongst other openly marketing them or by nominated disposal.

The method for disposal of assets will be assessed and determined on a case by case basis by reviewing all options available.  All issues relating to land or property, including social, environmental, economic benefit, and legal issues/agreement will need to be taken into account when determining the method of disposal.

Whilst the Council will always choose the method of disposal which provides best consideration, this may be more than just financial consideration and can include social, environmental and economic considerations. The method chosen  will be the method which best secures the desired objectives/outcomes for the land or property.

In order to justify a nominated disposal the proposal must meet one or more of the following criteria:

1.       Site specific requirement from inward investors.

2.       A development which would make a valuable contribution to the City Infrastructure

3.       Where it unlocks capital investment. e.g. contaminated land.

4.       Relocation of businesses affected by public schemes. e.g. M74.

5.       In the interest of the Council, e.g. public schemes as part of Agency CPO (compulsory purchase order).

6.       A local authority, e.g. another Council.

7.       A public body, e.g. health board.

8.       A Housing Association.

9.       An adjoining landowner.

The transactions involving the Club fulfilled points 2, 3, 5 and 9.


The initial reports indicated that Westthorn would be unmarketable if exposed on the open market and would be uneconomic to develop due to ground conditions etc. so there was little point in openly marketing the property.  The transaction with the Club was part of a larger set of transactions under which the Club were able to consolidate their land holdings in the immediate vicinity of Celtic Park and the Council was able to acquire sites required for the East End Regeneration Route (now the Clyde Gateway), the Commonwealth Games Athlete's Village and the National Indoor Sports Arena (now the Emirates Arena)

Who authorised the sale?

The sale was authorised by the Council's Executive Committee at its meeting on 19 January 2007

Was the transaction subject to any independent assessment?

Initial opinion and comments on the values of various properties were provided independently by the District Valuer although these were subject to ongoing negotiations between surveyors acting for the Council and for the Club, and were informed by specialist ground condition surveys and ongoing land transactions in the area.  An independent valuation was carried out as part of the Council's submissions to the European Commission's state aid investigation which confirmed that there was no State aid present in the sale of Westthorn to the Club.  The transaction as a whole was scrutinised by the European Commission and Audit Scotland independently.  No criticism of the actings of the Council in the Westthorn sale were made by either body.  It should be noted that the Council ultimately realised £675,000 (£739,500 after the addition of the RPI uplift) for a site retrospectively valued at £200,000.

Does this part of the website contain all the information relating to this transaction?

No.  As noted above, this transaction was one a linked series of transactions which were conducted over a very long period of time, involving a large number of Council officers and generating a huge volume of material.  All of this material would need to be carefully assessed and potentially redacted before we could publish it on our website and we do not consider this to be a good use of scarce Council resources.  We have identified the key documents which set out the reality of this transaction and provided this web page to provide the wider context for this.

Can I still put in an FOI or EIR request in relation to this matter?

In theory, yes.  However if the information we hold has been published here we will simply direct you back to this part of our website.  If it is not published here then it may be that it would exceed the cost threshold under FOI for us to locate and provide the information requested (or the request might be manifestly unreasonable under the EIRs), or it may simply be that we do not hold that information.  Please note that freedom of information creates the right to ask for recorded information and that seeking a view or opinion is not generally a valid FOI or EIR request.  For guidance on making FOI requests visit

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