This is a fascinating story which beautifully illustrates the decisions facing local authorities. Council are a strange hybrid of public and private sector behaviours. Like a business (and not like other public bodies) they must at least break even and use reserves to cover off rainy day outcomes.  Like all public bodies they face scrutiny (quite rightly) about their stewardship of public funds.  

The Commercialisation agenda is pretty much a lose lose situation - for councils due to have further sharp income reduction in the next 3 years (Met Police need to find £400m recurring on top of £600million already saved) where else are they going to raise funds? However what if an investment fails and the Council lose money? The Council will be found guility in the court of public opinion and may face regulatory action?  Tragedies such as Grenfall Tower add to a narrative that councils are focusing on other stuff and not doing the day job. These may all be unfair characterisations but in the 24/7 news glare-there is not much scope for balanced reporting and applause for those who take brave and well considered risks to support their communities.