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Is Council pulling out of Welshpool?

Created on 24/11/2016 @ 11:13
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Powys County Council looks set to pull out of Welshpool and centralise its Montgomeryshire administrative hub in Newtown.

The news was leaked at a public meeting on Monday night that Powys was running the rule over Ladywell House in Newtown, and following a request from MyWelshpool it now appears that big changes are afoot.

It could mean the end of operations at its huge building on Severn Street (pictured) which has been the Montgomeryshire power base for decades. What will happen to that building is unclear but such a size of town centre real estate could ease Welshpool’s housing shortage if permission was granted in future.

Cabinet Member for Property, Buildings and Housing Councillor Rosemarie Harris told us this morning: “Buying Ladywell House is part of long-term strategic plans for the council allowing us to dramatically reduce the number of buildings in the area, reducing overall running costs and providing an opportunity to raise capital through the sale of redundant buildings.

“The building is in a key location for service delivery and provides us with an opportunity to enter into a commercial agreement with others, both in the private and public sector, to lower running costs and stimulate economic activity.

“The building is 4300sqm with 1,200sqm vacant and the remaining 3,000sqm occupied by the Welsh Government on a long lease. The space allows us to future proof our operations by disposing of older buildings that are no longer fit for purpose.”

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Wynne Jones said: “It may come as a surprise to many that the county council is spending money on a building like Ladywell House at a time when the revenue budget in under such strain, but I must make it clear, this is a capital investment which offers a fantastic opportunity for the council, and the only impact on the council’s depleted revenue budget will be in a very positive way.

“The purchase will be supported by prudential borrowing, using the very low interest facilities currently available, supported by the existing substantial commercial lease income, the payback window is therefore extremely short. At same time the council will be able to reduce its revenue costs by vacating other buildings, with the potential of a substantial capital receipt from the future sale of some of the redundant buildings in the area.

“This is not only an excellent opportunity for the council, but more importantly it’s a fantastic deal for the taxpayers of Powys," he added.

Ladywell House is currently up for sale through Stuart Hogg which does not list the sale price, only stating that it has current rental income of £232,739 from tenants with the potential to increase to £403,618.

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