A COUNCIL in Suffolk has bought a business park in Basingstoke to help fund its services.

CIFCO Capital Ltd, a property investment company wholly owned by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, has announced today that it has invested £5.7 million in Basingstoke business centre, on Winchester Road.

The retail park, made up of 20 units, is home to businesses including paint shops, electrical supply stores and carpet stores.

South Central Ambulance Service also rent one unit as a standby point.

Announcing the news on Monday, the Suffolk councils said that future rental income will be invested back into its services, expected to bring in more than £300,000.

CIFCO has invested approximately £85 million in property to help fund services at the two councils.

It has 18 properties in its portfolio, including high street stores, office blocks and retail parks.

Babergh District Council leader Cllr John Ward said: “The income we receive from the CIFCO portfolio is helping us to weather the storm through COVID-19, meaning we can continue to invest in local regeneration and meet the needs of our residents.

"As our draft budget for 2021/22 shows, without this long-term financial support, the council could be forced to make cuts to services at a time when our residents need us most.”

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Cllr Suzie Morley said: “CIFCO is continuing to make careful decisions about the properties it invests in, ensuring that there is a balance of risk with all its acquisitions: delivering a long-term income to support our council’s finances now – and building a portfolio of commercial property as a valuable investment for our residents and communities for years to come.”

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Property Cllr John Izett said: “It is good to see investors continuing to demonstrate their confidence in Basingstoke as an attractive business location by choosing to invest here despite the uncertainty across the country caused by the pandemic.

“As part of our Property Investment Strategy, we have met our target to invest £35 million in property across the borough over the past two years, generating an additional income of £2.31 million to support council services for residents. It is important that we ensure our investments continue to give us the best return for our money and it is not always appropriate to invest in every opportunity.

“Property plays a vitally important role in contributing to the council’s budget and the income we receive from rents is more than double the income we receive from council tax. Our history of strong financial management and our policy of investing in property within the borough has enabled us to protect our key front line services at a time when many councils are being forced to make significant cuts.”

Basingstoke Business Centre is located on Winchester Road, between Brighton Hill Retail Park and B&Q.