A MAJOR town centre building has been purchased by the council in a £2 million deal.

The Gaumont Palace Theatre building, which currently houses Mecca Bingo in Corporation Street, has been purchased by Somerset West and Taunton Council for £2.1 million.

Although the Grade II listed building now forms part of the council’s asset portfolio, it will remain operational as a bingo hall.

The council says rent received from this investment will cover the cost of the purchase and will provide additional income towards the costs of delivering services.

Cllr Marcus Kravis, executive member for assets and economic development, said: “SWT is investing in a range of assets as part of its commercial investment strategy to help generate income to protect services and fund new projects.

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"The council undertakes thorough and robust analysis to support this kind of investment decision, and has carefully considered the risks involved while achieving a good return on investment for the benefit of the local communities we serve.”

The building is opposite Taunton Bus Station, which itself could be bought by the council, which it has been suggested could move the transport aspect of the site and instead build a restaurant and shopping complex.