Revealed: Brent Council’s commercial property portfolio
PUBLISHED: 19:12 02 June 2015 | UPDATED: 19:54 02 June 2015
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Brent Council owns a commercial property portfolio that includes 33 shops, three pubs and three theatres, it has been revealed.
According to a report released by the Taxpayers’ Alliance this week, the town hall also disclosed it owns 21 car parks, four restaurants and a leisure centre.
The lobby group, that campaigns against taxpayers’ money being used recklessly, submitted Freedom of Information requests to every local authority in the country what assets they owned in April last year.
Included in the council’s portfolio are the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn High Road and the Prince of Wales pub in Cambridge Road, both in Kilburn.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Local authorities should be focussed on essential services. The time has come for a serious discussion on what councils should, and should not, be doing - a drastic rethink which saw many of these assets returned to the private sector where some of them clearly belong would be a dramatic step towards a balanced budget and protecting taxpayers.”
Cllr Margaret McLennan, Brent Council’s lead member for regeneration and housing, told the Times the number of commercial assets owned were small compared to other local authorities.
She added: “These assets are very important in delivering our vision for Brent.
“We do keep our assets under constant review and if we find there is no longer a strategic use for them, we will rent or sell them on the open market and in some cases consider community asset transfer.”
Sarah Cox, from campaign group Brent Fightback, said: “In certain circumstances it’s a good thing and if the council own things that are of an asset to a community they should hold on to them.”
The report disclosed that neighbouring boroughs such as Barnet owns 10 golf courses and Camden had a shopping centre in its portfolio.