Mansfield DC has invested £23.9m in income generating property since 2010, all of it outside of its boundaries.
Source: air babble
Mick Andrews, director of commerce and corporate services, told LGC the approach was driven by the fact there were limited opportunities for investments generating “a reasonable amount of income to support services” within the small Nottinghamshire district. Mr Andrews, who is an accountant by background and has worked at Mansfield for 30 years, described the area as having low land values, below average wages and an “economy that’s not moving”.
The council’s purchases include two Travelodge hotels, one in Edinburgh and one in Doncaster, a gym in Manchester and offices in London.
Mansfield has an in-house team, but brings in outside advice when required, for example to help its staff understand the Scottish property market when purchasing the Edinburgh Travelodge.
The investments are currently contributing £1.3m a year, equivalent to more than 10% of the revenue support grant the council received in 2010. The council is planning to invest another £55m over the next three years, funded out of borrowing. However, the council is paying down other debt in order to stay at what it deems a sensible level overall.
Mr Andrews said: “When we started on this road we sat down with our external auditors, treasury management, legal team, property services and looked at this from all angles… we spent a lot of time justifying it to ourselves.”
Mansfield: Only out of area investments will support services