Bid to finally make money from enterprise centre

The Boston Borough Council building.
The Boston Borough Council building.

Steps are being taken in the hope that a multi-million-pound business centre owned by Boston Borough Council may, after six years, begin making money directly for the authority.

The Boston Enterprise Centre opened in July 2008 with a view to supporting small and medium-sized businesses.

The council secured funding of about £3.6m for the project, drawing cash from various sources (including £755,000 of its own money).

However, with the exception of business rates, the centre has yet to make the council any money.

This is because when the authority leased it to Nottingham Enterprises Ltd in 2008, the rent it received would be based on a share of the profits.

For this to happen, though, profits would have to exceed £250,000 in a year and this has yet to happen (the highest to date is £70,411 in 2012/13).

The lease expires in November giving the authority a chance to strike a more profitable deal with the lease-holders (now Nurture Enterprises Ltd).

Members of the council’s cabinet met on Wednesday to discuss the future of the centre and gave their backing to an alternative arrangement involving a return based on the level of invoiced rental income, asking officers to pursue this model.

Coun Derek Richmond said it gave the ‘most incentive’ to the centre’s operators to suceed.

He said: “The more occupancy of the centre, the more money they get out for themselves and obviously the more money we get.”

Members also heard that pressure is growing to find more small and medium-sized businesses for the centre.

Currently, 55 per cent of the site is occupied by the NHS. This was an arrangement which came into existence when the recession hit and take-up of office space proved poor.

However, with the economy now recovering, officers told the cabinet that the bodies which awarded the grants to get it built wanted to see the Enterprise Centre supporting enterprise.

It was an arrangement which suited Coun Michael Brookes. He said: “I think we should be trying to return to normality.”