WARRINGTON Borough Council will pay more than £45 million to buy a major logistics building in St Helens.

The deal will see the Labour-run council gain ownership of Movianto Ltd’s site in Haydock, near junction 23 of the M6 motorway.

It was approved by Warrington Council's cabinet at its meeting on Monday, although the financial details were discussed in private.

But it can be revealed the arrangement will see the Warrington council get around £2.3 million a year in rent, with its annual net surplus to total more than £1.1 million.

Warrington Council chiefs insist commercial properties are being bought in an attempt to offset the impact of cuts in government funding by boosting income through rent.

Cllr Russ Bowden, leader of Warrington Borough Council, said he was ‘not going to apologise’ for seeking alternative sources of income during the Town Hall meeting on Monday.

He also warned not doing so would be ‘unthinkable’.

“It is what we agreed as an administration when we came in,” he said.

“Should councils be making investments in property and acting in a commercial way? My honest answer, hand on heart, is no.

“But, equally, councils should be getting properly funded for the very important job they are asked to do.”

St Helens Star: Warrington Borough Council leader Russ BowdenWarrington Borough Council leader Russ Bowden

He says the controversial commercial strategy is key to maintaining vital services for residents but insists the council is not ‘jumping at every opportunity’.

“For every one of these that comes forward, there is probably another four or five that have been dismissed or fallen by the wayside,” he added.

The council will need to borrow the cash to buy the property and pay fees, including stamp duty land tax.

The lease is in the name of Movianto Ltd, which is involved in the wholesale of pharmaceutical goods.

The deal to buy the site is expected to total £45,450,000, which is understood to be market value.

Warrington Council’s previous property deals include the deal to buy Birchwood Park for £211 million in 2017.