Wigan Council owns nearly half a billion pounds’ worth of property and land, new figures reveal.
In total, the authority’s assets are estimated to be worth £491,258,000 and earned it £3.02m in the 2015/16 financial year according to the statistics released under Freedom of Information laws.
The amount the council garnered from them had dropped from £3,369,000 since the previous financial year.
The biggest earner for the council is car parks. It owns a total of 96 and made £504,000 in net income from off-street parking alone in 2015/16, down by around half since 2014/15 when it brought in £1,052,000.
The town hakll made a total of £866,513 on parking in total (including both on-and-off-street) down from £1,413,715 the year before. The amount raised through on-street parking remained around the same in both financial years.
The second biggest provider of funds is its shares in Manchester Airport which brought in £439,000 in annual income in 2015/16, up from £417,000 in 2014/15.
This is closely followed by the Grand Arcade Shopping Centre which earns the council £416,000 annually.
In total, the council owns 1,790 assets, which include community centres, schools, cemeteries, libraries, playing fields, basketball and tennis courts and public toilets.
The council also owns a church, outdoor markets, the Hinning House and Low Bank Ground outdoor education centres in Seathwaite, Cumbria, leisure centres including Howe Bridge, the cenotaphs in Golborne and Atherton and the war memorial at Leigh Cemetery, Lilford park, Pennington Flash and the Turnpike Centre.
Furthermore it owns Haigh Hall, the country park including the golf course, stable complex, the WLCT information centre and the education centre. Also in its portfolio are the tea rooms, changing rooms, public toilets and car park at the site.
The figures dispute claims made by the Taxpayers Alliance (TPA) that Wigan Council owns three pubs and five restaurants. The council admitted it owned the land on which some pubs and hotels may have been built but does not outrightly own any.
Paul McKevitt, the authority’s deputy chief executive said: “Like all public sector bodies money generated from our assets such as off-street car parking, the Grand Arcade and Manchester Airport are used either to help us maintain the assets themselves or help sustain essential services for our residents.”