A COUNCIL has bought a Christchurch industrial unit for more than £7million – even though it is more than 50 miles from their offices.

South Somerset District Council (SSDC) completed the purchase on the unit in Christchurch Business Park, which is currently occupied by Kondor Limited, a marketing and distribution partner for Samsung.

The acquisition for £7,050,000 is in line with the local authority's approach, with previous buys including office blocks in Bristol, Milton Keynes and Newport alongside several more local investments.

A statement on the purchase by SSDC claimed it had been "considerably below the market value".

To date the council has spent more than £40million on commercial properties after their first venture into Dorset land.

Councillor John Clark, SSDC portfolio holder for economic development, said: “This property meets our aim of acquiring well located property with established tenants, where we can add value. To get such a strong investment in such a tough industrial market at a yield in excess of 7% is very pleasing.

“We continue to be proud to be investing in order to maximise income to the council.”

The Christchurch Business Park unit, which became the council's ninth property investment, is currently let at a rent of £531,299.

With further properties currently under offer, SSDC could bring an annual return of £2.84million by the end of 2020.

An overall sum of £75million had been allocated to carry out the investment strategy, which was created to fund several regeneration projects along with other public services.

Finance is provided through reserves and internal borrowing, a process through which the local authority can borrow from itself and charge itself interest.

Lambert Smith Hampton’s Southampton-based investment team and Shoosmiths LLP assisted SSDC in the purchase.

In 2017, Bournemouth Borough Council allocated £125million for its own series of commercial property investments.

The most significant of these to be completed was the £49million purchase of Mallard Road Retail Park.

However, since May's BCP Council elections the future of this investment policy is currently unclear with the Unity Alliance administration holding overall control of the unitary authority.