Cheers! Council buys pub to help pay for services

Wellingborough Council leader Paul Bell outside Rafferty's in Market Street
Wellingborough Council leader Paul Bell outside Rafferty's in Market Street

Wellingborough council has bought a town centre pub and land to build a crematorium on in a bid to generate income, and is looking at more investment opportunities.

Wellingborough Council has bought the freehold to Rafferty’s in Market Street using its capital funds, and plans to use it to generate regular revenue income.

Officials also announced this week that a deal had been done for the plot of land off Doddington Road needed to build a new £4m crematorium, which should be up and running in the next couple of years.

The Telegraph understands that council officers have now been asked to look into the availability of the Star Bar in High Street and the Indian restaurant in Church Street.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council has several million pounds of what is known as capital reserves in the bank, but isn’t by law allowed to use this money for the day-to-day running of council services.

“By using the capital funds to purchase Rafferty’s and other investment properties, income can be generated through the rent and this income becomes part of the revenue budget which does pay for services.”

Outline planning approval to build a crematorium was granted in December.

At a recent meeting, Cllr Paul Bell, leader of the council, said he expected the crematorium to provide income of £100,000 a year.

He said: “We are exploring lots of different ways to help increase our revenue budget.

“We are fortunate to have capital reserves, but we’re not allowed to use this money to provide services so we have to find ways to turn it into revenue.

“Investing in property is one way we can do that.

“In the case of Rafferty’s and the rental income it generates, we can expect about a 10 per cent return on the investment.

“That is obviously more than we would get if the money stayed in the bank, and more importantly the revenue can be used for local services.

“Rafferty’s was also an important purchase for us as it was the only property in that block that wasn’t council-owned.

“Now we own the whole block and that brings additional benefits such as making access to the back of the buildings easier.”