Leader defends purchase of buildings

THE council’s purchase of two new buildings at a time of severe financial restrictions will provide extra employment, its leader has said.

North Somerset Council has bought two buildings next to Weston Town Hall and says the move will help with the regeneration of the district.

But the authority has not disclosed how much the new buildings cost, saying that as one of the purchases has not yet been completed the information is ‘commercially sensitive’.

The move comes during a year when the council has had to slash �18.6million from its budget as part of total cuts of �47million.

Announcing the news at the council’s recent full meeting, leader Nigel Ashton said the buildings will be used to provide employment through work with the private sector.

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He said: “In the past, the council has been unfairly criticised for moving posts out of central Weston following the acquisition of the Castlewood site in Clevedon.

“This was never the case, and I would hope that the purchase of this important site, and the opportunity it provides to bring even more jobs into the town centre, will put a stop to this criticism and further demonstrate the council’s commitment to the town and its economic vitality.

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“It was an extremely opportune moment to buy. With the property market being in decline, we have secured these buildings at a relatively low value. As we already own all the buildings around them it is a fantastic opportunity.

“By buying this site we can work with the private sector to create more high-quality office space, for both public and private sector jobs in the town.”

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