Another SSDC purchase

South Somerset District Council has Just spent another £5.95m of taxpayers money on an investment in a veterinary referral hospital. A new fighting fund (we are not allowed to know how much) was agreed at an SSDC meeting behind closed doors last week. The same secret meeting also agreed a newly relaxed set of rules for approving new asset purchases.

The latest acquisition is in Marlow Buckinghamshire. The Ralph was purchased for £5.95m as part of the Council’s commercial strategy. 

SSDC describe the aim of the strategy as “to invest in a diverse range of assets and generate income which will mitigate a significant reduction in central Government funding.”

Unfortunately this is not a balanced asset investment portfolio. Nearly all the money is going into one asset type, ie property.

Although this latest deal should return a net initial yield of 7.09%, SSDC are now even more heavily exposed to a downturn in the property market. The referral hospital only opened its doors to the public in February 2019 so as a business is completely untested in the market adding to teh risk exposure of the council.

The 25,550 square foot property began life as a hybrid office and industrial building in 1989 and was occupied by Emerson Network Power. The Ralph then took the lease and spent £3.2M on fitting the site out to a high standard.



  • Not to mention the £9,000,000 battery they purchased over 6 months ago where they “forgot” VAT was levied and had to borrow an extra £1,800,000 to pay the VAT before HMCustoms and excise would release it from the docks. I understand this £10,800,000 investment is having problems and to date hasn’t stored any electricity, it’s looking like another white elephant.

    • But as not one of the opposition councillors have pointed out the investment in Opium comprises £9.8m and £1.35m in 2 loans. the total is above the £10m figure that needs full council approval, but the amount has been split? Why are the Conservatives not taking the administration to task over this?

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