A MAJOR supermarket site will become the property of a North West council after the two parties signed off on a £40m deal.

Warrington Borough Council is set to take ownership of the Tesco Superstore, in Long Causeway, Farnworth, The Bolton News can reveal.

It is one of a number of properties purchased by the authority in recent years and comes alongside a deal to buy an Asda site in Hulme, which is also home to other leading names including Poundstretcher, Argos and KFC.

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

Council leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, hinted at redevelopment at some of the sites, including the land in Farnworth.

“It is part of having a balanced portfolio – we are not carrying out undue risk,” he said.

“These will deliver significant income returns for the council.”

The latest deal comes after the authority confirmed plans to buy a number of sites in Warrington, including a £211m swoop for Birchwood Business Park.

Explaining the strategy, Cllr Bowden added: “Some of the sites do have opportunity for redevelopment, if the council chooses to do so.

“We are in this for the long haul, it is not just buying stuff and shipping it on, these are long-term property investments in order to drive income and support council services.”

Cllr Paul Heslop, from Farnworth & Kearsley First, said that he expects to see further investment in the area as plans to regeneration Farnworth are put into practice.

“It’s barely a week since the Prime Minister welcomed the fact that Farnworth has moved into the next phase of significant central government funding redevelopment,” he said

“I have little doubt that there will be both real and speculative investment in Farnworth in the form of retail investment along with the purchase of land or businesses for future potential development or rental income.

“Given that the council is committed to providing council facilities that will encourage people to come into Farnworth Town Centre, there may be recognition by businesses that this really is a great opportunity to invest.

“On the face of it, Warrington Council appears to be securing revenue streams based on its capital investment of £40 million.

“Of course, there is also the potential increase in land and property values that may be a result of the redevelopment of Farnworth Town Centre.

“The interesting angle to this particular investment is that Tesco is on the periphery of Farnworth Town Centre that then begs the question - which businesses are looking closer to Farnworth Town Centre?”