Crawley council spends £4.75m on property investment

Louth to host it's first Triathlon event.
Louth to host it's first Triathlon event.

Crawley Borough Council has bucked the trend of spending cuts by forking out £4.75million to buy an office building.

The purchase of Atlantic House, in Hazelwick Avenue, will secure more than £350,000 per year in rent – with further buys planned.

The council’s portfolio of four other large offices brings in close to £200,000 per year – with Atlantic House added, that income will be more than half a million pounds.

The 20,382sqft building is occupied by EDF Energy and the company signed a 10-year lease in March at £355,600 rent per year.

The sum of £5million for property investment was approved in June 2013 as part of the budget strategy for 2014/15-2018/19. The amount unspent came to almost £250,000 after the payment of stamp duty and agents’ fees.

A council spokesman said that sum would be added to a further £5million which has been proposed for property investment in the budget strategy for 2015/16-2019/20.

The proposal will go before a meeting of the full council on July 23.

Cllr Peter Smith, Cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “The rental income generated from our investment in Atlantic House will be used to help fund council services.

“Our officers have been searching for appropriate properties to buy since last summer and this was the first that was considered to be an excellent purchase.

“We’re pleased to have secured this investment and expanded our commercial portfolio, as part of our drive to tackle the Government’s cuts by finding new ways to generate income, rather than cutting away services.”

Conservative leader Cllr Duncan Crow confirmed the purchase had been signed off in May by former leader Cllr Howard Bloom and Cllr Bob Lanzer.

He added: “The ability for councils to make investments in property in order to generate additional income was brought in by the Conservative-led Government. Councils being able to raise money this way helps to provide services and reduce the burden on council tax payers.”

The council’s commercial property portfolio is made up primarily of neighbourhood shops, light industrial units and workshops, which generates around £4million per year.