Will Forster

Former Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Council Buys Shopping Centre

by willforster on 22 February, 2010

Woking Borough Council today announced that it has bought the Wolsey Place Shopping Centre.

In order to buy the shopping centre estate – including Export House (the BAT building) and the other offices and apartments above the centre, the Conservative Council has borrowed the £68 million needed.   That is a lot of debt. Put this together with the existing £100 million debt and proposed £70 million required for the Hoe Valley Scheme – Woking Council and local residents are soon to be in over £238 million debt.  Very worrying.

Councils have a strong role – and responsibility to their area’s economic wellbeing, and on the face of it this purchase seems good news. It should allow the expansion of Woking’s economy, create much-needed new jobs and generate income for the council that is not from Council Tax.

But Woking Borough Council has a long track record of financial mismanagement – dramatic increases in car parking charges that hit the retail economy that the council now mostly owns, costly consultation on foolish proposed developments in Barnsbury and Brewery Road Car Park, unprofitable power plants in Milton Keynes… and so on.

Residents need more information on this news, so they – including me – can be assured that buying Wolsey Place is a sound investment, not another financial folly from Conservative Woking.

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