West Lindsey

Strict rules lead to ‘few investment opportunities’

‘Very few opportunities’ in West Lindsey have met the strict criteria the district council has laid down for investments, said the authority’s leader.

This week the council confirmed a £5.5 million spend on two properties in Sheffield, which it is hoped will bring in £439,000 a year.

The council said the investments will help tackle the withdrawal of government funding over the next few years and make it more sustainable.

A number of readers have raised questions as to why the authority is investing outside of the area rather than within West Lindsey.

West Lindsey District Council leader Jeff Summers

Council leader Jeff Summers told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines: “The only difference is opportunity.

We have had very few opportunities in West Lindsey to invest.

“Ones that have come forward have, in our mind and using our criteria, have not met the criteria to allow us to make that decision.”

He explained the authority had laid down a ‘very strict’ set of rules about the type of property, its location, sector and more.

He said a lot of background work was carried out by officers and council partners, including investigating the very structures of the buildings.

A £3 million building purchased by WLDC which is currently leased by a lingerie factory.

However, it is understood two properties within the district are close to being finalised — though details on these buildings have yet to be finalised, Councillor Summers confirmed one was a new build and the other was around 20 years old.

He also confirmed one was going to be a ‘190-something’ year leasehold which he said was ‘the same as buying it out right really’

The recent investments follow last year’s purchase of a  £2.35 million Travelodge hotel in Keighley, West Yorkshire, which currently brings the council a rent of £159,430-a-year.

The £2.545 million building purchased by WLDC which is currently rented by Better Gym.

Councils across the country are looking at how investments could help them combat a future lack of Government funding.

Lincolnshire County Council recently adopted a similar strategy, but said it would not invest outside the region.

Boston Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council have both taken out extensive loans for capital project , but have not yet made investments.

The City of Lincoln Council has bought a Travelodge building in the city for £13 million.

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