Sefton will continue the strategy of looking to generate revenues for austerity-hit vital services through commercial investment, such as its previous purchase of Bootle Strand. Tony McDonough reports
Sefton Council is to step up its efforts to generate more income for vital service with its new capital investment strategy.
The cabinet has approved the plan which will see a range of projects brought forward, including town centre regeneration, transport initiatives, housing and large employment sites. The aim will be to create new jobs and businesses, upskill local people, improve connectivity and bringing redundant land back in to use.
Some of the projects will also create commercial income for the council and increase income from Business Rates and Council Tax which can help to pay for more council services.
Since 2010, local authorities have been on the receiving end of savage cuts due to the Government’s austerity drive. This has forced councils to come up with alternative ways of raising extra revenue.
Council’s are increasingly investing in commercial developments. In May 2017, Sefton acquired Bootle Strand Shopping Centre in a £32.5m deal from London-based retail investor Ellandi and Avenue Capital.
Sefton Council secured a loan to purchase The Strand, which comprises 357,000 sq ft of space, and insisted it will prove to be a profitable investment for the borough. On Monday it told LBN the investment had proved beneficial to the borough.
Neighbouring Liverpool City Council has its own ‘invest-to-earn’ strategy which has seen multi-million pound investments in Liverpool John Lennon Airport and the Liverpool Central station shopping mall.
As well as the purchase of the Strand Sefton has also refurbished Crosby Lakeside Activity Centre and Sefton Adult Learning Centre and created a new council-owned housing development company, Sandway Homes.
Ian Maher, leader of Sefton Council said: “This really is an exciting moment, signifying a major commitment by Sefton Council across the whole borough to proactively and effectively utilise its assets to facilitate a major programme of investment and development, to deliver the council’s regeneration strategies.
“We have to act creatively, given the scale of financial cuts the council has faced, and alongside our role in facilitating and levering private sector investment, we can feel confident for the future for Sefton and our communities.”