Is North Somerset Council about to buy a retail park?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 February 2018

Is this the retail park North Somerset Council is hoping to buy?

Is this the retail park North Somerset Council is hoping to buy?

Archant

North Somerset Council will buy land in Weston-super-Mare including shops, a petrol station, car park and a pub – but will not yet reveal where it is or how much it will cost.

Protestors outside the Town Hall ahead of the budget, which was decided the same night the council agreed to the commerical sale.Protestors outside the Town Hall ahead of the budget, which was decided the same night the council agreed to the commerical sale.

The authority has already agreed to borrow £50million, through bank loans, to buy commercial properties, and met on Tuesday to discuss the investment and set its budget.

The land has more than 120,000sq ft of buildings involving food retail businesses, a warehouse and shops.

The council claims the revenue it generates will prevent it having to make further reductions to services, as it cut another £10million from its budget this year, including cuts to children’s services and housing support grants, and raised council tax.

MORE: How did your councillor vote on the budget?

Documents say: “The acquisition will afford the council opportunities to influence and possibly regenerate the site and the mix of uses thus contributing to employment, amenities available to residents and businesses in the area as well as economic growth.”

But the Mercury can only speculate about where this land is, since documents do not disclose the details, and our reporter was excluded from the full council discussion.

A likely option appears to be the North Worle Shopping Centre, which has Sainsbury’s, a petrol station, The Parish Pump pub, TK Maxx and Clarks Outlet Store.

Considering the size of the land, it can be assumed it will cost millions of pounds.

The council has promised the public will find out more in March.The council has promised the public will find out more in March.

This is not the first time the council has bought property without disclosing the price for market reasons – the cost of the old police station in Walliscote Grove Road was also kept under wraps, along with the cost of offices at junction 21. However, in those cases, the council has always said what it was buying and where it was.

The council says because the discussions have taken place off-market, they must remain confidential. The authority has promised to reveal what it has bought and how much it cost in March.

It means the public will likely not know what the council has bought until March 3 at the earliest – the day the sale must be completed by.

North Somerset set up a Property Investment Fund in July, funded through £50million in unsupported borrowing.

The Mercury can only speculate this is the retail park the council plans to buy, based on its size and the details already released.The Mercury can only speculate this is the retail park the council plans to buy, based on its size and the details already released.

In its budget, the council has an income target of £400,000 which needs to be achieved through commercial investments. It says this sale will contribute to the target.

The council acknowledges there are risks, as there are when buying any property, including changes in the property market, and the age of the buildings.

In this case, it says the key risk is not achieving its anticipated income stream – but says it has been mitigated through the work it has done to assess the strength of the business case.

Council leader Nigel Ashton said: “This commercial approach on such a large scale is a departure from the council’s traditional income generation activities and reflects the changing nature of local government financing.”

More from Weston Mercury

An accident involving two cars in Worle has resulted in slow moving traffic this morning (Thursday).

Read more

The prospect of Weston’s Tropicana being transformed into an ‘entertainment hub’ courtesy of a £1million investment have moved forward this week.

Read more
19 minutes ago

A Priory Community School (PCSA) teacher has been cooking up tasty treats on a national cooking television programme.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:56

Hard-working sailing volunteers from Clevedon and Yatton will have a royal appointment this week to recognise decades of service.

Read more
Clevedon Yatton
Yesterday, 17:58

One of the world’s best mountain climbers inspired hundreds of students with his heroic feats and stories.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

Volunteers hoping to make a busy road which connects Weston to Bristol safer for motorists and pedestrians have called on villagers to get involved.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:38

More than 90 competitors wowed audiences with ballroom, Latin and classic dance performances in Weston-super-Mare.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:29

Wu Shu Ky Freestyle Kickboxing Club under the guidance of 6th Dan Master Silvio Camilleri, has returned to Weston.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

A support group for people struggling with depression and anxiety has launched, and the woman behind it hopes to ‘fill a gap’ in North Somerset’s mental health services.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:57

Worlebury Golf Club held its annual presentation evening, with members turning out in force.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 12°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists