WARRINGTON Borough Council has bought two major sites in Birchwood for more than £12 million, it can be revealed.

It has bought Appleton House, where New Balance is the tenant, and Atlantic House, where Highways England is the tenant.

It follows the authority’s deals to buy Birchwood Park, Matalan, DW Sports, Pure Gym in the town centre, Eddie Stobart’s headquarters and Talk Talk’s former Stanford House site.

Commercial properties are being bought in an attempt to offset the impact of cuts in Government funding.

The latest acquisitions will further boost income for the authority through rent from New Balance and Highways England, which could be used to deliver services.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden confirmed the total property portfolio, following the recent investments, will bring in around £7.2 million a year.

He said: “That money is going to protect frontline services – if we did not take this approach, we would have to find £7.2 million a year elsewhere.

“We look for opportunities to take properties that would generate income into council ownership, properties that have good tenants on long leases.

“It is not about the council having a lot of money to spend, it is about the council borrowing money in order to generate income which goes directly into services.”

Highways England – which is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads – says the change in owner ‘won’t have an impact’ on its operations.

The Government-owned firm added that it will have around 250 staff based in Atlantic House from April.

In 2015, New Balance’s Appleton House location was recognised as being one of the best workplaces in the north at the annual British Council for Offices awards after winning the title of ‘best workplace fit out’.

The American footwear firm made the move to the town in 2014 to support its growing commercial success.

The Appleton House and Atlantic House sites have been bought for more than £12 million in total.