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Wealden District Council acquires Multi Million Pound Shopping Centre.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 By Phil Graves

The Vicarage Fields shopping centre in Hailsham has been acquired by the Council in a £12.35 million deal and Graves Jenkins were pleased to have advised and negotiated the transaction on their behalf.

The investment, anchored by Waitrose, consists of a range of shop units, plus offices and residential on the upper parts. Originally built in the 1960’s and then refurbished in the 1990’s, it forms an important part of the town centre.

Councillor Bob Standley, Leader and Cabinet Member responsible for Strategic Finance confirmed, “this is an exciting step for the Council as we are looking to reinvigorate the site so that it can play a stronger role in improving the economy of the District.”

The acquisition was financed through the Government Public Works Loan Board whereby Councils can benefit from cheaper loan rates. Brighton & Hove City Council used the same method when part financing the i360 tourist attraction. Although there have been calls to abolish the funding, many Councils are taking advantage of the method of acquisition and literally hundreds of thousands of pounds have been invested in recent times.

Phil Graves, who handled the deal commented, “I think it makes great sense for any Council to invest in property assets in their particular region as they can certainly add value through proactive management. We were pleased to be able to advise, value and negotiate the deal and the Council have some clever plans to make better use of the space and regenerate the area.”

A Council Spokesman added, “many years of careful financial management has put us in a strong position to take advantage of low interest rates to purchase the site. Rental income will provide an additional revenue stream, helping to offset the effects of the reductions on central Government funding.

After taking professional advice, the shopping centre has been purchased, following a rigorous due diligence process, from an overseas private finance Company.”