Solihull Jobcentre purchase on Council's wish-list, budget reveals - The Solihull Observer

Solihull Jobcentre purchase on Council's wish-list, budget reveals

Solihull Editorial 3rd Mar, 2020   0

SOLIHULL Jobcentre could be bought by Solihull Council as it looks to develop land.

In addition to building a new office block on Homer Road, the council has confirmed it is actively looking to buy Park House.

The office has been the site of the Jobcentre for over 30 years.

In its budget put to councillors, the council said: “We are about to bring forward an acquisition proposal of the Jobcentre in Solihull for both investment and strategic purposes, that carries a secure nine-year income profile.”

The proposal is not the first time the borough has expressed interest in Park House – in the 2016 Local Plan, the council stated: ‘The Jobcentre site has the potential to accommodate comprehensive future redevelopment.

‘A new development would provide an attractive frontage onto New Road, providing an attractive entrance to the heart of the town centre.

‘The preferred use for the site is medium-density family housing, with the capacity to deliver 11 new homes.’

The move to acquire the Jobcentre come as its owner, Telereal Trillium Ltd, offloads its estate of properties it leases to the Department for Work and Pensions.

According to Scottish weekly newspaper the Sunday Post, Trillium bought 700 DWP buildings at an upfront cost of £250million in 1998.

These were leased back to the DWP, in a deal intended to save the taxpayer £500million over the next 20 years.

In a statement posted last year, Telereal Trillium said: “Our ‘Hayhill Portfolio,’ comprises 98 regional offices let to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on new 10 year, FRI leases, commencing on 1st April 2018. The properties are let at newly agreed market rents, which are subject to inflation-linked rent reviews.”

Telereal Trillium has been contacted for comment on Solihull Jobcentre.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions told the Observer the DWP has a long-term lease on the Jobcentre offices, and it did not expect to move out of Park House. He added the DWP not been told of any plans by the council.

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