THE Odeon Cinema in Basingstoke set to be sold off by its owners, Slough Borough Council, in a plan to a number of the authority's properties. 

Senior Slough councillors are to consider the assets disposal programme as part of its improvement and recovery plans, which outlines the best way to govern its property sales.

The council is needing to sell up to £600m-worth of its properties and land to repay some of its £760m borrowing debt and reduce its £479m black hole.

It is hoped by selling nearly half of its £1.2bn asset portfolio, it will take its borrowing debt to a sustainable level by April 1, 2027.

The government said it was ‘minded to’ approve the council’s capitalisation request, essentially using capital money as revenue for day-to-day services, but is waiting for the local authority’s four years’ worth of accounts to be signed off by an external auditor.

Last year, cabinet members agreed to delegate authority to the executive director of place Richard West to sell assets up to the value of £1m after consulting with the relevant lead councillor and the chief finance officer.

All assets above £1m will go straight to cabinet for consideration.

Senior councillors have been asked to amend its constitution so a cabinet committee can be set up and focus on the asset disposal programme to allow more focused review and debate on specific proposals and make recommendations to cabinet.

Basingstoke Gazette: Council HQ Observatory HouseCouncil HQ Observatory House (Image: Google Maps)

Council leader James Swindlehurst will appoint members to this committee.

This is to add an additional layer of governance in the disposal strategy as well as sell the assets ‘in a timely manner’.

If senior councillors agree to this change, the paper will go to a full council meeting next month for final approval.

Elsewhere within the report, it states the disposal strategy that outlines which properties and land will go will be prepared by the end of this month.

The report also revealed that four borough assets, such as the Odeon cinema in Basingstoke, are among the properties to go in the first wave of sales.

It also hints properties and land owned by the council’s company Slough Urban Renewal, such as Montem and Stoke Wharf, are being considered part of the disposal strategy.

Assets used by the community, such as the site in Windmill Road, are also on the table but the council will consider the equality impacts and if severe, the decision to sell or not will be reserved for elected members.

Senior councillors are to consider the assets disposal programme at a cabinet meeting on Monday, June 20.