Essex council purchases share in research park

Uttlesford District Council has announced the purchase of a 50 per cent share in Chesterford Research Park, following a new partnership with Aviva Investors.

The move is part of the local authority’s long-term plans to realise a portfolio of commercial investments, within the district, capable of generating stable income into the future.

With the acquisition costing £45 million, the council will fund the project by using its own reserves along with a mix of loans from other local authorities, the government and private funders.

Chesterford Research Park is the location for biotechnology and pharmaceutical research and hosts development companies including Arecor, AstraZeneca, Charles River Laboratories and Domainex. The arrangement will generate an initial yield of 5.6 per cent per annum for the council rising to 6.3 per cent by year five.

Dawn French, chief executive of Uttlesford District Council, said: "Chesterford Research Park is one of the premier commercial sites in Uttlesford and has excellent potential for further growth. We are delighted to be working with Aviva Investors on this initiative and look forward to playing a key role in the continued success of the Park.

"Maintaining a financially sound and effective council is one of the council's priorities, and we are confident this investment will be of significant benefit for residents and businesses, as well as those with a specific interest in the Park. It will go some way in helping us to bridge the funding gap which will, in turn, enable us to continue to deliver important services to our communities."