Sovereign Centre deal ‘good news’ or simply ‘property speculation’?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 August 2018

Weston's Sovereign Centre.

Weston's Sovereign Centre.

Archant

Westonians have been having their say after the Sovereign Shopping Centre was sold for tens of millions of pounds.

The focal point of Weston-super-Mare’s retail offering has been bought by Legal & General for £21million in an arrangement with North Somerset Council, which the authority hopes will generate cash to pay for services like adult social care.

Legal & General will let the shopping centre, off High Street, to North Somerset, which will keep 60 per cent of the building’s income, for 35 years – at which point the ownership will transfer to the council.

The authority will pay £717,698, but expects to profit to the tune of £1.1million a year from rent.

Councillor David Pasley, executive member for asset management described the deal as ‘a bold and innovative decision which will generate a significant annual income’.

Many people took to social media to share their view.

Kirsty Jayne Hill commented: “It infuriates me the council can spend funding for the people on whatever they choose without consultation with the people.”

John Cadwallader said: “The Tory executive should be pressing central Government for more cash instead of becoming property speculators.”

Louise Davidson wrote: “Perhaps people need to understand how councils are financed before they whinge.

“Capital ventures like this are based on borrowing with extremely low rates of interest, whereas the revenue return, which is what all local authorities desperately need, will be big enough to pay off the loan plus create a positive revenue stream.

“This is good news financially for North Somerset and will help protect frontline services.”

Ian Mohide aded: “Developers can see there is no long-term future in retail premises so why would a council think they know better?”

George Latham said: “What an insult to independent retailers. The council is killing off local trade in Meadow Street and Orchard Street.”

Bob Powell wrote: “Will that revenue stream stay in Weston? I suspect not, but purely on a financial basis, for once this does make sense.”

To join the discussion, visit www.facebook.com/wsmercury or www.twitter.com/wsmercury

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