SEDGEMOOR District Council has purchased a retail park in Street for £8.2m, according to documents published ahead of an upcoming meeting.

Rental income from the Gravenchon Way site – which includes the village’s branches of Home Bargains and Pets at Home – will be used to fund public services across the district border in Sedgemoor.

The sale was completed in December 2018 but was not made public at the time due to commercial sensitivity.

The park is the second commercial investment which the council has made in the last three years.

The council also acquired 36 flats at Aspen Court in Bridgwater in March 2016 through its subsidiary company Aspen Housing & Development Ltd for £1.7m intending to rent them out to residents.

Alison Monteith, the council’s finance manager, admitted in her written report to the executive that the authority was ‘increasingly dependent’ on income from commercial investment to sustain its services.

She said: “The council invests in UK commercial and residential property with the intention of making a profit that will be spent on local public services.

“The authority is becoming increasingly dependent on profit-generating investment activity to achieve a balanced revenue budget.”

The council’s non-treasury investments (which includes its commercial investments) will provide £100,000 of income in 2019/20 – the equivalent of 0.5 per cent of the council’s total revenue budget

This will rise to £350,000 (1.9 per cent) in 2020/21, and £625,000 (3.3 per cent) in the following financial year.

Ms Monteith added the potential loss of rent from tenants relocating was “mitigated by making sure that the properties are flexible in use and in a desirable location.”

The council will spend up to £50m on commercial investments, of which £9.9m has already been spent on the Street Retail Park and Aspen Court.