Walsall Council seeks to acquire Saddlers Centre

Last updated: 09/08/2017 15:41:01

At an extra-ordinary meeting of Walsall Council on Monday 7 August 2017, approval was given to an amendment to the Council’s capital programme in order to purchase the ground leasehold interest in the Saddlers Centre shopping centre, in Walsall town centre.


Leader of Walsall Council, Councillor Sean Coughlan said:


“This is a very positive story for Walsall. This acquisition will provide the Council with an opportunity to add to its existing investment portfolio whilst the rental income generated will meet the aims and requirements of the Council’s four year financial plan.


“The Saddlers shopping centre makes a significant contribution to the retail offer in the town centre and provides a gateway from Walsall train station. Owning the Saddler’s Centre will give us a real point of control in proactively supporting regeneration in Walsall town centre, whilst also achieving significant income back to the Council.”


The Council’s capital programme was approved by full council in February 2017, but this investment opportunity did not present itself until May. In order to complete the transaction in the timescale set out by the vendor, it was necessary to take the opportunity of bringing a report to the extra-ordinary meeting, which had been organised in order to ratify the appointment of the Council’s new Chief Executive.


Leader of Walsall Council, Councillor Sean Coughlan said:


“Walsall is by no means the first local authority to seek to make a property acquisition of this nature. As the impact of the government’s austerity measures is felt more deeply, we will have to be creative and innovative in order to still be able to provide services that, whilst much valued by our residents, are not statutory services.


“I do appreciate that residents may question why we are seeking to make this significant purchase at a time when council services they value are reducing or ceasing. This purchase would be capital expenditure, whereas savings are being made to our revenue expenditure. Capital expenditure is used for investments and improvements to the Council’s assets whereas revenue expenditure is the Council’s day to day spend on running costs of services and facilities.


“We know we can’t continue to deliver services in the way we’re currently delivering them. We’re faced with a stark choice; we either bring more income in or more services are stopped or reduced.”