Eastbourne retail park is sold

Dave Tutt at the Hampden Park retail park (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170208-110128008
Dave Tutt at the Hampden Park retail park (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170208-110128008

A retail park in Eastbourne has been bought by the council for £18million.

Hampden Park Retail Park is where B&Q, Maplins, Halfords, Dreams and Mothercare are located and the deal by the local authority was announced this week.

The council has been snapping up local landmarks in recent months to boost its portfolio of properties.

Council leader David Tutt said low interest rates on borrowing meant the council could invest taxpayers’ money by buying up assets and get major returns.

That money, said Mr Tutt, would help boost the coffers at a time when funding from the government is reducing before eventually being phased out in 2020.

“We are spending money on assets which go up in value and also pay a dividend,” said Mr Tutt.

“It makes good business sense.

“We are trying to backfill the loss of government grants we receive and with borrowing rates so low, we can borrow money to buy properties which will only go up in value.

“This is all about protecting frontline services for residents in the years to come. We have got to get the money from somewhere.”

Mr Tutt said the value of a section of Seaside which the council purchased in recent years has already increased by £800,000.

“It’s good news for the town,” said Mr Tutt, who said other authorities were buying properties.

The Lib Dem leader said a team of council officers was also looking into acquiring other properties.

Among the properties now owned by the authority are Victoria Mansions at the seafront end of Terminus Road, Bedfordwell Pumping Station at Whitley Bridge and the Buccaneer Pub in Compton Street.

The authority had been in the running to buy Langney Shopping Centre but lost out to another investor.

A deal to buy part of Langney Road also fell through.