Corby Council borrows Â£44m to buy warehouses
Corby Council has borrowed almost Â£44m in cheap loans to buy up property for investment.
The authority has used the multi-million-pound borrowing to purchase two large warehouses on the industrial estates in the north of the town at a cost of £40m.
It has also spent £4m on an office unit which has since become the innovation hub in Bangrave Road.
The authority says it will make a net return of £1m a year from the borrowing after repaying interest.
At the One Corby Policy meeting on Tuesday, April 10, council leader Tom Beattie said the council had been engaging in the practice in response to cuts from central government.
He said: “The risk has been carefully managed and we have only invested in our own borough.”
But Conservative councillor David Simms said the council should be cautious, especially as the authority looks likely to come to an end and join with other neighbouring councils in two years time.
He said: “We have to be very careful. We do not want to be gambling with public money.”
As part of the warehouse buy-up the council paid £22m for the Matalan building in Curver Way and £18m for the Staples industrial unit in Mitchell Road. The buildings were bought between December 2016 and December 2017.
The money has been borrowed mainly from the Public Works Loans Board, an arm of the treasury which has been lending money cheaply to local government for centuries.
CBC Chief executive Norman Stronach said he would allow his finance officers to continue to look for other investment opportunities.
Councillors decided to approve the investment strategy at the meeting.