A reductions in government funding over the last ten years has meant the council has had to find new ways to generate income to maintain services and keep council tax low.

The council’s commercial property portfolio has been built with great care and with advice from investment specialists and in-house expertise, maximising potential income at the lowest possible risk to the tax payer

The currently portfolio is performing, well despite the recent national and global challenges and continues to contribute substantially towards council services.

The portfolio includes properties from a balanced and diverse mix of sectors to reduce risk. In building the portfolio the council has reviewed and rejected many investment properties that were not appropriate for the council.

The portfolio was drawn together for it’s potential to create income, not for their proximity to East Hampshire, and were bought in accordance with the constraints set out in the then investment strategy. That council’s investment strategy sets out the how purchases were identified and the process for making the purchase decisions.

Most purchases since 2017 were funded through loans from the Public Works Loan Board (PLWB), which gives Local Authorities the ability to borrow funds for investments of this nature. The loans are repayable at low interest rates compared to the potential yield of the investments.

However, with changes being made to the PWLB lending criteria, this means Local Authorities are no longer able to borrow to create income.

Therefore East Hampshire District Council has had to redefine it’s property strategy, focusing on the assets it now owns to make sure they are performing the best they can. Therefore a new Asset management strategy has been devised which clearly sets out how the portfolio will be managed going forward.

This has also lead to a restructuring of the Property Investment Governance which has seen a revised approach introduced to make sure the Council is actively connecting up all facets of the council and aligns with the new asset management strategy produced.