It’s only right that large investments by local authorities into property portfolios should be scrutinised, as outlined by Liz Hamson and Steve Norris.

Construction

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This is especially true where millions of pounds are being invested by councils outside of their own boroughs, with communities unlikely to see any direct regenerative benefits.

Certainly, enterprising councils should be commended for exploring innovative new ways for funding front-line services. Their ambitions for owning assets that generate income demonstrate a pragmatism that is entirely understandable.

Through our own experience, Morgan Sindall Investments knows that long-term JV partnerships with councils are among the best ways to deliver investment on their own patches, ensuring communities can grow and thrive.

The merger of commercial knowhow and expertise with a local authority’s detailed understanding of what its community needs ultimately leads to investing in assets that deliver for everyone.

Our own JV partnerships with Slough and Bournemouth borough councils and Hertfordshire county council strike the balance between sharing risk and return, allowing returns to be reinvested back into vital front-line services.

With the interests of both partners fully aligned, the council is able to retain control over how its land is developed and the pace and scale of that development – and at the same time receive a capital receipt and a 50% share of the ongoing development profits generated.

Undoubtedly, councils are right to think innovatively when identifying new revenue streams. But to minimise risk and maximise return, finding the right approach and partner is key to making a lasting and positive impact for local communities.

Lisa Scenna, managing director, Morgan Sindall Investments