We need to correct the comments in recent LibDem literature which stated, "The Council has spend (sic) millions investing outside of (sic) our community; this is wrong".
There are a few inaccuracies in their literature ... and it also fails to grasp actually what "investment" is and how Bracknell Forest Council has used it.
Yes, we have invested a substantial amount of money buying commercial property and the majority of that is our outside our Borough - but that investment is now generating £3m a year of extra income for the Council ... that’s £3m a year after costs! The Investments that we have made in commercial property have to meet exacting criteria, and we’ve only invested in properties that exceed those – for example, price, yield, age, condition, tenant etc.
However, our Investments haven't just been in Commercial property - We've also invested in Economic Development - in fact since the last election your Conservative Council has spent some £70m on economic development - that is improving, buying and building assets for the whole community. This includes:
- More than £30m in new schools - for example, Warfield, Kings Academy, and improvements to community centres and to every other school in the Borough.
- Millions on new roads and improvements - the infrastructure supporting The Lexicon, improvements to major and minor roads and traffic control - and since 2015 we have added nearly 300 new parking spaces in our residential areas across the Borough - in itself costing nearly £1m.
- New, cost effective and environmentally friendly LED street lighting.
- Investing over £12m in brand new Leisure facilities (Coral Reef) and major investment in Libraries, Sports & Leisure Centres.
Every ward in Bracknell Forest has directly benefited, as has the community everywhere, with the delivery of The Lexicon - and we have just announced more major investment in the next phases of the town centre and the innovative use of older assets such as Easthampstead House, to become an innovative location for start-up businesses and Easthampstead Park to have a secure future as an hotel and conference centre.
Now let’s examine the other form of investment.
Commercial investment is, as any experienced financial practitioner will know, quite different - it is investment specifically intended for a commercial return or in other words to make the most money. We have a very successful Transformation Programme where we have found new ways of "doing things" better by being different. Thanks to some the work of the Council - we are now generating £3m a year and that’s after costs have been deducted ... That’s extra income that we can invest in frontline services such as vulnerable children and adults. This is a key reason why we have managed our finances such that, despite austerity, we have not cut any essential services, we have actually improved them.
Our investments have generated much needed cash to directly inject into our local services. As you would expect, this has been managed with your Conservative led council’s characteristic prudence. We have very strong investments which have also gained in value thus building more wealth for the community's future prosperity. The location of those investments is actually irrelevant, your council has a tried and tested rigorous investment model that all investment opportunities must meet or exceed - potential investments within Bracknell Forest have been rejected because they did not meet our stringent criteria. We will continue to manage our commercial assets in order to gain maximum income for our community regardless of where that opportunity may be located.
Properly managed investment that is contributing to making Bracknell Forest #AGreatPlacetoLive