Coventry & Warwickshire

Plans to sell off Warwick science park 'will save £10m'

Coventry City Council plans to sell its 45% stake in the University of Warwick Science Park (UWSP).

The site needs an upgrade which would cost the council approximately £10m to bring it up to the required standards.

Council leader John Mutton says spending cuts means it is facing decisions it may not have considered making before.

"It is an opportune moment, we believe, to sell it off (and) repay some of our debt."

Last month Coventry City Council approved £39m of cuts from its budget.

Savings of £10m

Mr Mutton says the council's priority is to protect front-line services and that selling the stake in UWSP makes sense.

He said the plans would still leave some money to put back into services.

"If we borrowed the cost of that £10m over 25 years it would be £1m a year - we only achieve half a million pounds a year in rental income so it would be another half a million pounds a year to come out of services.

"That's why we believe selling it now would be the best thing."

The UWSP is jointly owned by Coventry City Council, the University of Warwick, Warwickshire County Council, West Midlands Enterprise Ltd and the seven West Midlands district councils.

Coventry City Council's stake of 45% is the largest of the minority shareholdings, although it could not confirm how much this is worth.

In a statement, the University of Warwick said: "The University of Warwick has agreed to take on the full ownership of one of Coventry's major employment success stories - the University of Warwick will continue to build on that success."

The city council's report on the proposals said the plans would not affect the companies currently based at the Science Park.

Members of Coventry City Council's cabinet are due to discuss the plans on Tuesday 15 March before a full council debate on Tuesday 22 March.

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