Babergh to form new £3m investment pot – here’s what it will be used for

Babergh District Council, based at Endeavour House, is pursuing the �3m investment pot Picture: ARCH

Babergh District Council, based at Endeavour House, is pursuing the �3m investment pot Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

A new £3million pot is set to be established which will allow a Suffolk council to buy key parcels of land and property in the district when the opportunity arises.

Babergh District Council’s cabinet approved plans for the strategic property and land investment fund as a means of acting immediately when a piece of land becomes available.

The length of time it currently takes to acquire land or property means the council has previously missed out on opportunities.

The new fund will enable it to act quickly for land considered an investment or of strategic value, such as areas next to existing council developments.

The cabinet report said: “The council has in the past approved, through the strategy committee process, the purchase of strategic assets, prior to a formal offer being made and accepted.

“However, the delayed decision-making process could put the council at risk of not securing strategic properties and not being able to compete with the commercial sector, in a timely way, to gain the best purchase price for the council.”

Councillor Simon Barrett, cabinet member for economy, added: “This is designed for us to move swiftly to really help progress moving forward and that’s what we should do – we must be an enabler of these things.”

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While cabinet has approved the plan, it requires the go ahead at the next full council meeting in order to be set up.

In June, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet approved a similar £3m pot for the same purpose.

Both Babergh and Mid Suffolk have confirmed that no single purchase will exceed £1.5m, and that the funds would be used on land in their districts, not on out-of-county acquisitions.

The councils share ownership of a property investment firm, CIFCO Capital Ltd, which has invested tens of millions of pounds in commercial buildings across the country, but the new fund will not be used for this purpose.

The cabinet report said that a series of checks and balances would be in place to prevent problems, including consultation with cabinet members for assets and investments, finance, economy and local ward councillors.

Purchases will be reported in full to cabinet once completed.

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