Published: 17:00, 02 May 2019
Ashford Borough Council has bought the town’s Matalan store in a multi-million pound deal.
Now ABC bosses have completed the £4.75 million purchase after the authority’s cabinet and full council gave the green light.
“Following cabinet approval last month and full council approval on Thursday, we have proceeded with the purchase of the Matalan site,” a spokesman said.
“The legal agreements have now been completed and we have effectively become the landowner from Friday.”
In a recent report prepared ahead of the cabinet meeting in April, it said council bosses held discussions with two national supermarkets to “understand the site’s long-term value”.
But Matalan, which has six years left on its lease, says it is going nowhere and plans to extend its stay beyond 2025.
The store will continue to trade as normal now ABC has taken over the site.
The council documents showed the purchase price was £4.75m, with a stamp duty land tax of £227,000 and other costs taking the overall figure to £5m.
In the report prepared for the cabinet meeting, ABC’s head of corporate property and projects, Paul McKenner, says residential use is considered the “most valuable alternative long-term use for the site”.
However, no residential proposals are currently being put forward for the site, which was previously home to Cartiers Freezer Foods and Tesco and was put on the market in February.
Cllr Graham Galpin (Con) wrote in the report how the spot has lots of potential.
“The purchase makes a considerable and secure contribution to the sustainability of the council and its ability to fund services,” he said.
“Matalan has six years remaining on its lease, which it is expected to renew - if not then there is active interest from two national chains.
“In addition to the opportunity to receive revenue, there is the development option for the remainder of the site, or all of the site if it becomes vacant.”
More by this authorDan Wright