South Somerset District Council acquires Marks & Spencer Yeovil building

South Somerset District Council (SSDC) is delighted to confirm its decision to acquire the Marks & Spencer building in Middle Street, Yeovil.

This first investment decision, as part of the Council's new Commercial Strategy, has now been concluded and will provide a strong income to the Council for the future.  It will help to protect the provision of core services to our residents and communities

SSDC adopted a Commercial Strategy on 17 August this year and is demonstrating its new commercial focus to enable the Council to grow its income, become more business-like and to help it focus on reaching its investment, regeneration and economic development objectives and grow into the future. 

The Council is taking this approach following significant cuts to the public sector in Government grants and central funding since 2010.

As well as finding significant internal efficiency savings, the Council is committed to protecting services as far as possible and meeting its ambitions to improve life in South Somerset by being more commercial in its approach and making investments that will deliver valuable income.

South Somerset District Council is committed to investing in the town centres of South Somerset and the purchase demonstrates this commitment.  Marks & Spencer is a substantial employer in the town centre retail core and the Council is looking forward to working with them.

Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council, said: "This is the first major step for the Council in actively applying its new Commercial Strategy which is all about creating new income to protect services and enable us to continue to deliver on our ambitions for South Somerset.  The alternative was to cut services that the public both need and want and that was never an option we were going to seriously consider without trying sensible but challenging alternatives.  We believe that our residents would want us to take this approach in the face of massive cuts in funding from central government.  Whilst becoming more commercial, we remain focussed on our role of delivering for everyone in our communities and this will help us safeguard critical public services into the future."

Councillor Henry Hobhouse, Portfolio Holder for Property and Income Generation, added:  "As a council we are now on our way to commercially delivering the income targets and investment we need to sustain and grow the services needed for our communities within our strategy.  We are operating in a commercial manner, utilising appropriate expertise and skills to ensure the sound utilisation of public funds.  We intend to continue to do this to grow our economy, regenerate our towns and become more self-sufficient as a District Council.  In doing so, we will achieve our overall goal of providing services to and meeting the needs of South Somerset communities."

To find out more information about South Somerset District Council's Commercial Strategy, visit www.southsomerset.gov.uk/commercial.