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.
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.
For 2021/22 the income from Chesterford Research Park is expected to be £2,317,000. There is also repayment to the council of staff time whilst undertaking company work on Aspire (CRP) Ltd.
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 and this regional distribution centre serves the north west and Scotland.
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 planned for the final quarter of 2021/22.
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 the second quarter of 2022/23.
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 will be let to tenant(s) once the conversion is complete.
The site is planned to be ready for occupation in the first quarter of 2022/23.
We are committed to investing in Chesterford Research Park. We want to see the existing tenants expand and grow on the park and for the park to attract new tenants from a diverse range of research activities. Chesterford Research Park is within the district boundary and investing helps to sustain existing employment, introduce new employment opportunities and generate additional Business Rates.
When considering new investments, we'll always seek to invest in district where practicable. However, as will be set out in the Investment Protocol, location is only one factor in determining future investments and other factors combined may result in out of area opportunities being recommended.
We'll be making regular reviews of assets in the portfolio. However, as the investments were made to generate long term income for us, it is unlikely we will sell any in the near future.
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.
It is important for the future development of the portfolio that an Investment Protocol is developed. This will be formally developed during 2021/22. The protocol will not only set out types of investments and financial allocations available, but also ethical considerations.
Whilst the protocol is being developed, the Investment Board will be mindful of the commitments and policies that we have adopted. For example, our Climate Emergency Declaration means that we would not consider physical assets that would be contrary to the declaration. An example of assets that would not be considered under this declaration would be a portfolio of forecourt garages.
Whilst we do not currently have an Investment Protocol we have 39 councillors, many of whom have no investment experience. They will consider all aspects of any proposed investments rather than just the commercial return.