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Is Bexley council about to set up its own property development company?

PUBLISHED: 09:32 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:32 05 April 2017

Bexley Council offices

Bexley Council offices

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The cabinet will meet next week

A meeting to plan the future growth of the borough could see Bexley council’s cabinet member approve its own development company.

On Tuesday, April 11, the council will meet to discuss its ‘growth strategy for the year ahead.

Among the suggestions being tabled is the establishment of a property development company, known as BexleyCo owned entirely by the council.

According to the council, resources would be used to “stimulate the local economy, leverage inward investment and make the borough an attractive location for people and businesses”.

The council says decisions on future developments will be able to made quicker, and profits would shared amongst the council as dividends.

A council spokesperson explained the proposed company’s vision: “An investment and development company that delivers a portfolio of housing, and other assets, at pace to support the Council’s Growth Strategy, whilst generating financial returns to the Council. Whilst acting commercially, BexleyCo will respect the residents and taxpayers of Bexley and the ethics and values of the Council.”

The idea of a local authority owning a company has grown in popularity as councils prepare to stop receiving grant funding from the government by 2020.

At first, the company will be funded by loans provided by the council, supplemented by income generated by investments.

Looking further ahead, it is hoped the company will be able to receive funding from other sources the council could not normally access.

If approved, the council will remain its sole shareholder, with the role filled through a cabinet committee.

But before any go-ahead is given, the cabinet still needs to approve a business case for setting up the company, as well as determining the relationship between the council and the company.

Next week’s meeting of the cabinet is open to the public at Bexley Civic Offices, and will be available to watch online at http://bexley.public-i.tv/core/portal/home.

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