Spelthorne Borough Council has defended its policy of investing in commercial properties, following reports in the national press. A report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism claimed the local authority in Surrey has borrowed almost £1bn from the Public Works Loan Board to buy a series of commercial properties. In September, the council announced the purchase of the Charter Building in Uxbridge, the Porter Building in Slough and Thames Tower in Reading for £285m. And in September 2016, it bought the BP business park in Sunbury, which is the largest privately-owned business park in the country, for £360m. The investigation highlighted the growing number of local authority’s investing in commercial properties over the last few years. In a statement, Spelthorne Borough Council said like almost all local authorities, it has been dealing with continuing central Government funding cuts. ‘This, coupled with rising demand and increased costs means that we have … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Jamie Hailstone

Senior reporter – NewStart