OLDHAM Council cabinet has signed off its property strategy for the next four years at a meeting at the Civic Centre.

As part of the new plan, which covers how the town hall sells, buys and leases assets, certain activities are not allowed on or within its properties and land.

These include metal detecting, which is now no longer permitted unless a metal detecting survey forms part of an approved archaeological investigation.

A report discussed by members said the hobby can be ‘problematic’, resulting in the loss of artefacts and information in addition to damage to archaeological deposits.

It adds that unreported discoveries lead to an ‘accumulated loss of knowledge, and interference with our leisure, sporting or public use of council land’.

Flying “Chinese lanterns” are also banned from being sold and set off from any of its properties.

Cllr Hannah Roberts told the meeting: “We agreed as a council that it wouldn’t be allowable on council land because of the implications of setting fire to things and injuries to animals.”

Leader Sean Fielding added: “We don’t permit people to release Chinese lanterns on council property and it is reflected in our medium term property strategy.”

The town hall also agreed that it will refuse to lease its properties to payday lenders, betting shops and pawn brokers.

But garden tenancies – whereby residents can ask the council for a licence to use its land as a private garden by a neighbouring household – will be scrapped.

The cabinet report states that the cost of creating and managing new licences is prohibitive.

Howeve,r it will consider requests to purchase land for use as a private garden from adjacent properties.

As part of the strategy, and in recognition of the ‘unprecedented financial challenge’ the council is facing, the authority has put in place a commercial property investment strategy and investment fund.

The purpose of this is to increase the council’s revenue income stream by purchasing more property and then leasing it out to increase rental income.