Huntingdonshire District Council has completed the purchase of the Rowley Arts Centre in St Neots, a leisure complex featuring a cinema, restaurants, a gym and car park.

The purchase is the latest investment in St Neots by the district council and follows the purchase of four industrial units at the Little End Road Industrial Estate, Eaton Socon, in December last year.

The two investments support both the economic and retail offers within St Neots, the council says, and together will generate a net income to the district council in excess of £400,000 per annum.

The purchase of the Rowley Arts Centre for £7.6million was announced by the leader of Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC), Councillor Graham Bull, who said: "Today, both private and public sectors face the ever-growing challenge of finding new and imaginative ways of doing more with less, and local authorities such as Huntingdonshire District Council are under pressure to balance their books while delivering a range of resilient public services.

"The district council's decision to embrace an active investment strategy, that can also support economic development, is already helping the council generate additional income that we are investing in frontline services."

Councillor Bull added: "The economy in Huntingdonshire is thriving, with buoyant demand for commercial property.

"As a council, we plan to continue to invest in commercial property here in Huntingdonshire and use the income from our rental properties for protecting and enhancing frontline services, while making sensible decisions and protecting your investment."

The Rowley Arts Centre and Little End Road industrial estate purchases form part of the district council's commercial investment strategy and business plan.

The primary aim of the strategy is to generate an income that supports council services and follows a series of investments at other sites both within and outside the district.

To date, HDC has invested approximately £27.9 million in a mix of industrial, retail and office accommodation.

The council says it has added in excess of £1.6 million to its income per year.