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Mid Suffolk District Council confirms new £3m asset pot will be used in county

PUBLISHED: 16:38 01 June 2018

Mid Suffolk District Council's cabinet at Endeavour House is set to approve the new pot Picture: ARCHANT

Mid Suffolk District Council's cabinet at Endeavour House is set to approve the new pot Picture: ARCHANT

A £3million pot to invest in land and property is set to be established in Mid Suffolk – and bosses have confirmed it won’t be for out-of-town investments.

Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet will meet on Monday afternoon where it is recommended to approve transferring £3m from the growth and efficiency fund for a new pot for property and land investment.

The aim is to allow the council the ability to secure key properties or land when it comes up for sale that can be regenerated or revamped for the community.

The council had gathered criticism for its property investment arm CIFCO Capital Ltd investing tens of millions into commercial buildings elsewhere in the country.

But council bosses have stressed the new fund will be for opportunities in the county, not elsewhere.

Nick Gowrley, leader of the council said: “We are establishing a strategic property and land investment fund to be able to actively respond to strategic opportunities that arise in the district.

“A dedicated fund will allow us to help to purchase strategic assets and reduce the risk of missing out on key properties.

“The fund will enable the council to react and secure, when required, strategic property and land, as an investment opportunity, and to assist future house building and economic growth within the district.”

The council confirmed that both urban and rural areas would be considered, with potential investments needing to represent good value for money and have development potential.

A cap of £1.5m has been put on any single land or property deal.

CIFCO Capital Ltd, which is owned 50/50 by Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils, has borrowed around £50m from the Public Works Loans Board on property deals.

Those include the Marks and Spencer store in Brentwood, Essex, the building which is home to Caffe Nero and Wagamama in Peterborough and a business park comprising four car dealerships on the edge of Milton Keynes.

The council’s opposition Green party previously said that while it was not opposed to investing in property, the fact it was investing in properties outside of the district was questionable, and could be better spent to facilitate new affordable homes.

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