Council to discuss calls to sell off Northampton town centre building to help plug funding gap

A town centre building should be sold off to raise funds which could protect vital public services, say Liberal Democrat councillors.

Monday, 28th October 2019, 6:02 pm
Albion House was purchased by Northampton Borough Council
Albion House was purchased by Northampton Borough Council

Northampton Borough Council purchased Albion House, next to St John’s multi-storey car park, in November 2014 after cabinet approval.

Since then plans to extend the car park on to land where Albion House currently stands have been shelved by the council. Now opposition councillors want to know what it plans to do with the site and if no plans are in the pipeline to sell it off.

The motion, which will be discussed next Monday (November 4), has been tabled by Councillor Brian Markham and seconded by Lib Dem leader Sally Beardsworth.

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Albion House (circled) is next to St John's multi-storey car park

It states: “The administration is in the process of preparing a draft budget for 2020/21 which it will consider at the cabinet meeting on December 11. This comes at a time when local government finances are being squeezed and this council is facing a deficit of £750,000 plus in the current year.

“In November 2014 the cabinet approved the purchase of Albion House for a sum up to £500,000. The building has not been brought into productive use and this council believes the benefit of maintaining ownership of this under-utilised asset needs to be reconsidered.

“The council requests that as part of the budget preparation, the administration considers the disposal of Albion House to provide vital finance to protect vital public services.

“If the administration decides not to dispose of this under-utilised asset, because it has a firm plans for the building then they should declare those plans and report back to the council meeting on December 9.”

The three Lib Dem councillors will require the backing of the majority of Conservative members in order to pass their motion.

Back in May, Conservative council leader Jonathan Nunn told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that plans to extend the car park on to Albion House were ‘not cost effective’.

But he added: “The building has turned out to be a good investment, and is worth much more than when we bought it.”