- Meeting of Cabinet, Tuesday, 16th February, 2021 10.00 am (Item 16.)
- View the background to item 16.
The Cabinet were asked to decide on the acquisition of the long-leasehold interest at Lancaster Road, Cressex Industrial Estate, High Wycombe to facilitate land assembly and future regeneration opportunities.
That the acquisition of the long-leasehold interest at Lancaster Road, Cressex Industrial Estate, High Wycombe to facilitate land assembly and future regeneration opportunities be approved.
J Chilver, Cabinet Member for Property and Assets, introduced the report which recommended the acquisition of the long leasehold interest at Lancaster Road, Cressex Industrial Estate, High Wycombe. The proposed acquisition would provide a substantial increase in the revenue generated at this site, and also provide the Council with control of the site to pursue future regeneration and redevelopment opportunities upon expiry of the incumbent leases. Further information in support of the recommendation was contained in the commercially confidential Appendix 1 to the report.
Buckinghamshire Council owned the freehold of this circa 0.63 acre site which was located in a prominent position on Cressex Industrial Estate, High Wycombe. This freehold interest was immediately adjacent to other council owned sites such as the Wycombe Trade Park to the west and Anglo Office Park (off Lincoln Road) to the north. Both were regeneration and redevelopments facilitated some years ago, by the acquisition of old 99 year leases and the re-grant of new 125 year geared ground leases (at a premium). The strategy around the council owned Cressex Industrial Estate will form part of the wider Asset Management Plan.
The site was fully let to Spargo Tools who hold a ground lease at a rent fixed for the remainder of the term at £130 pa, expiring 31st January 2048 (29 years unexpired). The lease did not require landlords consent for assignment of the leasehold interest. Unless the Council owned this lease the site could not be brought forward for development or regeneration purposes for another 29 years.
Previously used for light industrial purposes, the site was currently occupied by leisure operators. There was no history of site contamination from the previous uses. The buildings looked to have been erected in the 1950’s, when the ground lease was first granted. Given the occupation of the site, soils investigation was not considered to be practical. A desk top site environmental evaluation would be undertaken, and actions assessed accordingly if risk of contamination or remediation are considered significant.
Spargo Tools was owned 50/50 between two families (Jones and Hopkins), who had now agreed to dispose of their leasehold interest to the Council. While on an industrial estate, the units on site would no longer suit a modern industrial occupier if available on the market today and therefore presented a re development and regeneration opportunity.
Further information was included in the report on other tenants on the site (Playtrain, Summit 2 Leisure Clubs Ltd t/a Fitness Experts) who had both been subject to lockdown restrictions and were currently on a rental payment plan.
The industrial market had remained strong in the current economic market with yields for investments achieving 5% reflecting the high demand for such assets. Market analysts suggested the strong growth in the industrial sector was likely to continue as major retailers respond to the increased in demand to online shopping and home delivery. The ‘last mile’ delivery solution was now just as critical within the supply chain as the major distribution hubs.
RESOLVED that the acquisition of the long-leasehold interest at Lancaster Road, Cressex Industrial Estate, High Wycombe to facilitate land assembly and future regeneration opportunities be approved.