We have acquired a number of property assets across a range of sectors as part of our investment programme.
In line with our Commercial Strategy, we have acquired a number of property assets across a range of sectors (it is not investing in tenants or companies). We have done this by taking out fixed rate loans, which are then repaid from the rent paid by the tenant. Uttlesford council taxpayers do not directly fund these purchases.
Our Commercial Strategy 20223-2028 (PDF) [2MB] provides the latest information.
We have a number of current investments.
Chesterford Research Park, Little Chesterford
In May 2017 we, through our wholly owned subsidiary Aspire (CRP) Ltd, acquired a 50% share in Chesterford Research Park and formed a joint venture with Aviva Investors. As part of the Cambridge Life Science cluster the Park is world renowned, having been in existence for 19 years, with available space to significantly increase the commercial floor space, plus expand the Park into other areas of research to diversify and reduce the risk.
Further investment is planned during 2023/24 and future years as a new building (Building 800) is delivered. This will be a multi-let, near 60,000 sq ft building, a mix of office and laboratory space. Plans are also being developed for a similar sized building (Building 1100/1200). This will mean that construction will run in parallel of 2 new buildings which will be the 2nd and 3rd biggest on the Park. They both aim to be completed in 2025/26.
Skyway House, Takeley
On 30 June 2020 we completed the purchase of Skyway House at Takeley. The tenant is Weston Homes Plc who have signed a long lease.
Stane Retail Park, Colchester
On 4 August 2020 we completed on the forward funding opportunity at Stane Retail Park on the outskirts of Colchester adjacent to the A12. This will see the construction of two buildings, one for Aldi and the other for B&Q located on an extension to the existing site. Both tenants have agreed long leases.
Completion took place in December 2021.
1 Deer Park Road, Livingston
On 21 August 2020 we completed on the acquisition of 1 Deer Park Road, Livingston. The tenant, Veterinary Specialist (Scotland) Ltd had recently taken occupation and final fit out was taking place.
At the time of purchase Veterinary Specialist (Scotland) Limited was a partnership between Pets At Home (Guarantors) and Dick White Referrals. Pets At Home have remained the guarantor but they have sold their interest to Linnaeus Group. Dick White Referrals have also joined Linnaeus Group which is part of the Mars Veterinary Health Group.
Matrix Park, Chorley
On 16 September 2020 we completed the purchase of a large logistics building on Matrix Park, Chorley adjacent to the M6.
The tenant, on a long lease, is Waitrose Limited. Waitrose have fully sub-let to GXO a worldwide distribution company. GXO Logistics
We completed the forward funding acquisition in March 2021 for a large scale distribution centre. The tenant is Amazon and they will use it as a 'final mile' van based distribution centre.
Occupation by the tenant is delayed and it is likely they will look to sublet the facility for a number of years before they themselves take occupation.
In March 2021 we acquired a site in Tewkesbury for a new build head office and warehouse. The tenant will be Moog Controls Ltd.
It is expected that the tenant will take occupation in 2023.
Little Canfield Business Park
In November 2020 we acquired the former Winfresh Factory at Little Canfield, primarily as a new single waste depot. The site has a significant area of both building and land that is let to tenants.
The original plan had been to acquire assets, hold them for a period of time to generate income, but then to sell them at the appropriate time to realise a sum at least the level of which was paid for the asset. The monies received would then be reinvested in a new asset and the process repeated. By doing this the need to refurbish buildings, find new tenants etc. would be avoided and the portfolio kept 'current'.
The changes introduced by the government and CIPFA have resulted in the need to revise the plan for the portfolio moving forward. It will not now be possible to sell assets and buy new meaning that we will need to retain the assets for the longer term.
In line with the need to retain the asset for a longer period of time it will now be necessary, from 2023/24, to set aside some of the income raised each year into a reserve to cover increased risk of business failure and future costs of refurbishment at the end of lease.
Chesterford Research Park
We are committed to investing in Chesterford Research Park and changes to the Prudential Code do not stop it from doing so. We are keen to see existing tenants expand and grow on the Park and for the Park to attract new tenants from a diverse range of research activities. The Park is within the district boundary and investing helps to sustain existing employment, introduce new employment opportunities, and generate additional business rates.
How the investments are made
Every investment opportunity follows a due diligence and governance process. This includes consideration by an Investment Board, which has two independent members. The final decision is ultimately taken by all councillors at a meeting of Full Council.
We also have an Ethical Investment Policy (PDF) [202 KB].