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Under-fire property Mid Suffolk and Babergh district council investment firm CIFCO buys Suffolk warehouse site

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Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils' property investment firm, that has been criticised for investing outside of the county, has bought its first Suffolk asset.

CIFCO Capital Ltd has pumped more than £25 million in seven out-of-county sites, but critics have questioned why it did not have the confidence to buy assets in the county.

Now it has emerged it has purchased a warehouse site in Olympus Close, Ipswich, comprising 15 tenants as part of White House Industrial Estate.

Mid Suffolk and Babergh district council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich
Mid Suffolk and Babergh district council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich

Mid Suffolk District Council chairman Derrick Haley, who is also a member of the CIFCO board, said: “This year’s new acquisitions in Hemel Hempstead and Ipswich help diversify CIFCO’s portfolio.

“What this means in practice is that our investments cover multiple locations and multiple sectors, making us less vulnerable to disruptions in any one area.

“This makes our income from CIFCO more secure, allowing Mid Suffolk to plan ahead confident in the income CIFCO can provide and plan how best to use that money to deliver services within the district.”

It follows the purchase of an industrial complex in Hemel Hempstead and properties in Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Harlow, Norwich and Brentwood.

The assets generate around £1.4 million of income annually, with that figure expected to around double once it has invested the whole of its £50 million fund, which has come from the Public Works Loan Board.

Babergh district councillor Nick Ridley said: “Both of these assets strengthen our portfolio and are in line with our strategy of managing risk by buying properties in a variety of sectors and locations.“These purchases diversify our portfolio, minimise the risks and promise to provide a good return to be invested in services in Babergh and Mid Suffolk.”

Mid Suffolk’s opposition Green group had called for the funds to be invested in much-needed housing and said CIFCO’s failure until now to invest locally was 'hardly a vote of confidence in this part of the world'.

Andrew Stringer, Mid Suffolk Green councillor, said: “It’s good to see that Babergh and Mid Suffolk are willing to invest close to home.

"However this still does not mitigate the inherent risks involved. At least the investment might help the local economy.”