Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire council buys Sheffield gym and lingerie factory

Better Gym Image copyright Google
Image caption West Lindsey District Council purchased two freehold properties in Sheffield, including this one rented by Better Gym

A Lincolnshire council has spent £5.5m on buying a gym and a lingerie factory in Sheffield.

West Lindsey District Council, which purchased the two freehold properties - occupied by Better Gym and Panache Lingerie - said the rental incomes would help pay for public services.

It spent £2.35m on a Travelodge in Keighley, West Yorkshire, last year.

Opposition groups have criticised the council for making investments outside its area.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the purchases, which were completed last week, will see the council collect £164,000 a year in rent for the gym on Penistone Road, which it bought for £2.5m.

It will also receive £275,000 annually for the unit at Drake House Crescent, for which the authority paid £3m.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The authority said the rental incomes would help pay for public services

The Travelodge hotel, which is 75 miles away from council headquarters, currently brings an annual rent of £159,430.

Councillor Giles McNeill, chairman of the governance and audit committee, said he was "pleased" with the new additions to the authority's property portfolio.

"We've made investments of just shy of £8m and are generating a return of £598,000 p.a. (7.58%) far better than the return of 0.43% we were earning on our investments in 2012."

But Liberal Democrat councillor Lesley Rollings questioned the rental income and said the authority "already owns buildings that are sitting empty".

The council said it had put aside £30m to build an investment portfolio, as part of a financial plan to combat the future loss of government money.

Image caption The hotel is described as being "down to earth with free parking"

Alan Robinson, strategic lead for people and governance at the council, said the potential income from rent and future resale "will enable further investment in West Lindsey to support services, economic regeneration and growth".

"This income is vital in providing much-needed revenue for the council, supporting the continued provision of services in West Lindsey."

He said the council followed a "stringent set of guiding principles" when it invests, including a 14-point scoring criteria looking at factors such as the condition of the property, tenant financial standings, yield return and proximity to the district.

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