Gillingham Town Council is to buy the Roman Business Centre at the Peacemarsh end of Le Neubourg Way for £385,000 to use as its workshop.
At an extraordinary meeting of the full council held online on Thursday 25 June councillors agreed to go ahead with the purchase and to apply for a government loan of £345,000 to help fund it.
Councillors gave the go ahead after hearing that the annual repayments on the 23-year loan, if approved, would be £19,211.
At the same time councillors said that it was ‘not intended to increase the council tax precept for the purpose of the loan repayments’.
The town currently rents a workshop in the Old Market, but deputy mayor Paul Harris, who drew up the report proposing the purchase, pointed out that the council would have to renegotiate that lease next year and that the cost would go up. Buying the site would in fact reduce running costs.
‘By doing this we will be running at 13.83% less then what it would be to continue with what we’ve got,’ Councillor Harris said.
Councillor Val Pothecary called the purchase a ‘damned good idea in principle’ though she had concerns that next year might be ‘tricky’ as the council would have to meet both the last year of the existing lease and the first year of the loan repayment.
However, Councillor Harris said they were arranging the finances in such a way to avoid any impact on the precept. ‘The idea is that throughout this precept and the next precept the costs in the precept will only be associated with one site,’ he said.
At the same meeting councillors agreed to spend £52,330 on new playground equipment at Marlott Road, where the existing playground had been decommissioned.