Cash-strapped Milton Keynes Council has put in a sudden £1m bid to buy the Network Rail car park as an “investment”, the Citizen can reveal.
The move is due to be approved by lone Cabinet councillor Rob Middleton under his delegated decision-making powers.
It has been endorsed by council officers, who have ALREADY submitted the bid but specified it is subject to councillors’ approval.
Network Rail built its Quandrant site next to CMK rail station four years ago and more than 3,000 people work there.
The company has always employed contractors to collect the £5 a day parking charges.
But it is now selling off assets to raise cash for new rail developments and improvements.
The council only became aware at short notice that the 294 space car park was up for grabs, said leader Pete Marland.
“We feel it would be an investment that would earn us money towards financing our services in the future,” he said.
“It’s come at a time when we’re having to make budget cuts, but we would borrow this money and then repay the loan out of the income we would make from parking charges.”
In a report to Rob Middleton, officers say there could be repercussions if it is decided NOT to buy the car park.
Their report states: “There is a risk that if the car park is purchased by another, and the current pricing arrangements are changed, that this will impact on usage at the Council’s existing parking spaces in and around the station. There are therefore clear benefits to the council owning the site and so should attempt to purchase the car park by making an offer.”
Mr Marland said the purchase would not affect the council’s plans to build a multi-storey car park near the railway station.