Council splashes out on £6 million hotel

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Council bosses in Ashfield have revealed the authority has purchased an out-of-town hotel for £6 million in an effort to gain more income.

The 69-bedroom hotel in Charlecote, near Stratford-upon-Avon, overlooks a National Trust park – and its purchase has been welcomed by the majority of councillors.

The council has followed in the footsteps of other local authorities as it buys commercial properties.

It comes as councils receive less funding from Central Government – money they now need to generate themselves..

The Charlecote Pheasant Hotel was originally a farmhouse and became a vegetable research station during the Second World War.

It was also a tea room with an exotic bird garden before being transformed into a hotel.

Three out-of-district convenience stores have also been purchased for £1.75m – two in Portsmouth and one in Gosport.

Councillor Cheryl Butler, council leader, said: “I am delighted by the recent acquisition of these three stores in the south of England and a hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon.

“These purchases demonstrate the council is committed to looking at new and forward-thinking ways on generating income, so we can replace the income we have lost through government cuts.

“As an administration we have promoted a more business-like and commercial culture within the council and I am pleased to see that now registering in the till.

“The rental from these new properties will help meet our budget shortfall and protect services.

“The money to fund these properties has not come from council funds and not taken away money earmarked for other projects such as parks or town centre improvements.

“Councils often borrow money to fund major projects, and borrowing money for investing in commercial property is an effective way for us to boost funds in the long term.

“Any profit will be fed back into the councils revenue fund to be spent on services within the district.

“This is a new and exciting step for the council and demonstrates we are committed to generating income and delivering high-quality services.”

The hotel is predicted to bring in £320,000 per year to the district, with the convenience stores set to bring in £100,000.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, leader of the opposition Ashfield Independents, said he would have preferred an investment closer to home.

He said: “I broadly support investing to make more money and help keep taxes low. I know there must be a balance for return. Investing locally would be a win-win situation, as the area could be redeveloped and jobs created. It would not just be about costs but a social benefit as well.”