Social media users react as council buys £38m retail park
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 March 2018
Social media users have been having their say after North Somerset Council paid a whopping £37.95million to buy a retail park.
The council bought North Worle District Centre in February, hoping to generate cash to pay for vital services, like adult social care, with funding from the Government due to be withdrawn in 2019.
The 12-acre retail park, which is home to Sainsbury’s, TK Maxx, the Parish Pump pub and five smaller shops, was bought using a £50million bank loan, and the council intends to buy more money-making assets in North Somerset.
The authority hopes to make a profit of £225,000 above the cost of the borrowing in the first year, rising to £400,000 thereafter.
Council leader Nigel Ashton said: “We will soon have no funding from central Government for local services so, like other councils up and down the country, we need to find alternative ways of raising money.”
North Somerset has confirmed shoppers will not have to pay for parking. Many people took to social media to share their view.
Gareth Saunders wrote: “Councillors all claim to represent the people. So how come this was kept a big secret without the people they claim to represent being consulted beforehand?”
Lien Milton commented: “Think on the flip side of the coin. The council has been bent over a barrel by our Government.
“So maybe all or some of the profits from this venture might go towards services in and around Weston.”
Chris Silvester said: “The council says the profit it would make would be greater than the bank interest. So why is it a bad thing?
“And the other things people have mentioned, like housing or the hospital, probably come from a different budget.”
Ron Patrick Walker wrote: “This is not necessarily a bad idea. This money hasn’t come out of taxpayers’ funds, but let’s hope the dividends do pay off or we will be the ones footing the bill.”