AN ODEON Cinema and a Waitrose supermarket are among the assets set to be sold despite the drop in value.

Senior councillors agreed to sell four of its out-of-town properties in order to help reduce its £680m borrowing debt and bridge its £479m blackhole.

Following its declaration of bankruptcy in July 2021, Slough Borough Council is needing to sell up to £ 600m worth of its properties and land as well as make about £20m savings a year until 2029.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, council leader James Swindlehurst (Lab: Cippenham Green) said the four buildings were bought as investments in order to pump extra revenue into Slough’s budget, but the yields are not performing as they thought it would be given the borrowing debt to purchase the assets.

READ MORE: Odeon Cinema in Basingstoke set to be sold by Slough Council

He also said the buildings outside Slough were the first to go as they are not used and “loved” by residents.

The properties due to be sold to their respective anonymised bidders include an Odeon Cinema in Basingstoke, a Wickes Store in Wolverhampton, a Waitrose in Gosport, and an Expect Distribution warehouse in Bradford – which were all bought between 2017 and 2019 for £31.8m.

While the warehouse and DIY store’s values have gone up, the cinema and the supermarket’s values have dropped by £5.2m due to inflation and Covid-19.

Waitrose’s lease is due to end by 2025 and has no intention to renew it. Cllr Swindlehurst said they need to sell the supermarket now or “else things could get worst” if they don’t before 2025.

The current total value of all four assets is £26.6m. However, the total offers on the Bradford warehouse and Wilkes store exceed current valuations by £1.3m, meaning the council could bag £27.9m – a £3.9m loss.

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Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, Cllr Swindlehurst said: “This is a very, very small slice of what will be a several hundred-million pounds disposal programme and we firmly expect as a council that the profit on a number of our other assets that are coming forward over the next few weeks and months will offset the small loss on the two assets here that are struggling.”

Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab: Britwell & Northborough), lead member for financial oversight and council assets, said selling the four assets will reduce the council’s borrowing costs by £644,000 and will help pay off six per cent of the council’s debt.

He added selling these properties will “de-risk” the council from further trouble, such as the anticipated rise in interest rates.

Cllr Anderson said: “If we carried on holding them, we will keep making notional rental income out of them for the next couple of years at least but the risk of them going further down in value and the risk of the units being unlet given the economic outlook is high.”