Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
An update on the success of the Telford Land
Deal and Growth Fund
Non Key Decision
Councillor D Wright, Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Infrastructure presented the report of the Assistant Director: Business, Development and Employment which provided an update on the continued achievements of the Telford Land Deal and the Council’s Growth Fund investments which were delivering new and higher skilled, local jobs, creating growth and security in the local supply chain alongside new homes, and were central to the Council’s Strategy to Protect, Care & Invest into creating a better Borough.
Four years after entering into a unique 10 year Land Deal with Homes England (HE), continued success was being demonstrated despite national uncertainties in the inward investment market. The unique model which allowed the disposal of public land through upfront investment into site preparation and marketing of sites, was underpinned by the Council’s Enterprise Telford investment offer through its £50m Growth Fund, and had delivered an acceleration in commercial and residential sites sold and raised land values.
A number of achievements were detailed in the report including the development of commercial and residential sites which had delivered a cumulative gross sales income of £27.3m and attracted private sector investment of over £200m, future delivery of further commercial and residential sites; and reinvestment of local profit share of £3.3m into the delivery of new incubation units and grow-on space for small companies at Hortonwood West future proofing employment. A number of testimonials were included in the report.
The Council’s £50m Growth Fund enabled the Council to provide land, build and lease bespoke properties and offer a full turnkey solution, continuing to drive a high number of investment enquiries drawing in new businesses and enabling others to expand and grow locally. The Fund had supported commercial opportunities including Southwater as well industrial employers such as Rosewood Pet Products and Eden Horticulture Ltd at Hortonwood West. Cumulatively, the £43m investment to date through the Growth Fund was estimated to deliver an ongoing gross return of 7.3%, 4.8% after borrowing.
The Borough continued to attract significant interest from the automotive and advanced manufacturing sector, and more recently companies connected to battery and automotive light weighting together with the food and agricultural industries. There had been a significant increase in indigenous companies requiring new premises to expand. Investment through the Deal and utilising the Growth Fund was supporting the delivery of new floor space at Ni-Park, a new Agri Tech flag ship employment park for the Borough set to consolidate the Borough’s reputation as an investment hotspot in this growing global sector.
A number of high profile investments had been made through the Council’s Enterprise Telford programme including Magna Cosma’s new plant at T54, Polytec’s new manufacturing plant at T54, and the Epwin Group’s recent land acquisition at Hortonwood.
Speculative investment was also on the rise showing continued confidence in the Telford market. This included private sector acqusitions at Hortonwood West and Halesfield alongside the Council’s own investment into two new large units at T54 on land acquired through the Land Deal.
Across both the Land Deal and the Growth Fund the developments would generate business rates of circa £1.75m pa and council tax of circa £760,000 pa. The additional rental income and additional business rates retained by the Council were being invested directly into delivering front line services across all the Borough’s communities. For example, this funding in 2019/20 equated to 58 older people being supported in residential care or alternatively 136 older people being supported with domicillary care to remain in their own homes.
Under the Land Deal, the Council had taken ownership of all residual non developable land from Homes England. This provided the additional opportunity to enhance and grow the Borough’s provision of Green Network and Local Nature Reserves as well as providing opportunities for carbon offsetting aligning with the Council’s commitment to zero carbon.
Members welcomed the report, particularly drawing attention to the testimonials of those who had benefited from the Land Deal and Growth Fund, and thanked staff across the Council for the team effort in delivery of the scheme.
RESOLVED – that the outcomes achieved since the Land Deal was completed and the outcomes of the Growth Fund investments to date as set out in section 4 of the report be noted.
Report author: Dawn Toy
Publication date: 08/01/2020
Date of decision: 02/01/2020
Decided at meeting: 02/01/2020 - Cabinet