Durham County Council have agreed to review their multi million pound headleases. These agreements could have long reaching consequences with taxpayers taking on the risk and the economic downturn COVID is causing.
The headlease of particular concern is £120 million agreement at Milburngate, Durham. This includes 5,000 square metres speculative office building, alongside 153 built-to-rent apartments. Where the Council will pay for the buildings over the next 30 years. But it is Durham County Council’s responsibility to run the facility, and find organisations to rent the space.
Taking on the risk of venture means that the taxpayer foots the bill if it goes wrong. These decisions are being made behind closed doors, with the public being barred from knowing the details.
The Council have agreed for a full review to take place – following a motion submitted by Lib Dem Cllr Owen Temple (Consett North), with a report going to cabinet in the new year. This is something that needs to be carefully watched with Croydon going bankrupt for not managing such agreements effectively.