Council buys Wickes site in Burgess Hill for £6.3million

Wickes in Burgess Hill. Picture: Google Street View
Wickes in Burgess Hill. Picture: Google Street View

Mid Sussex District Council has bought a commercial site in Burgess Hill, currently occupied by Wickes, for £6.3million.

It has described the purchase as ‘another step towards financial self-sufficiency’ due to government funding reducing ‘dramatically’ in recent years.

It says the site will provide £325,000 rent per year that will help to offset the loss of government grant funding.

A spokesman said the council took over the existing lease when it purchased the site. It confirmed Wickes, owned by Travis Perkins Plc, signed a 15-year lease with the council.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, cabinet member for economic growth, said: “2018 was the year that government funding to the district council reached zero and with council tax only funding around one third of the cost of providing council services in Mid Sussex we must generate the additional income ourselves with investments like this one.

“Our long-term goal is to be 100 per cent financially self-sufficient so, no matter what happens at national government level, we will have secure funding streams in place to deliver our services for local people.

“By investing carefully in local property, we can secure a stable source of income to fund local services, help to regenerate our towns and support the economic wellbeing of the district.”

In 2010, the district received £6.4 million in Revenue Support Grant towards the provision of local public services but this reduced year-on-year to zero in 2018. But with the removal of this, it must find other ways to generate the income it needs to continue providing services for local people, a spokesman said.

The Wickes site in London Road comprises a purpose-built retail warehouse, which was recently comprehensively refurbished and refitted by the retailer to create a mezzanine area for a bathroom and kitchen showroom.

Externally there is a builders’ yard, outdoor projects centre and a car park with 81 spaces.

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