CONTROVERSIAL plans to continue investing millions of pounds in commercial properties far afield has seen South Somerset District Council snap up a site nearly 50 miles away on the Dorset coast.

The council has completed the purchase of a unit in Christchurch Business Park for more than £7million, 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 following their first venture into Dorset.

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 seven per cent 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 regeneration projects in Chard, Yeovil and Wincanton, along with frontline services.

Finance is provided through reserves and internal borrowing.

A spokesman for SSDC added: “The council is currently operating in a complex financial climate where it needs to deliver savings rising to £6 million per year until 2022.

“This is about making prudent financial decisions which will create significant income to get the best results for South Somerset but still, where possible, supporting the local economy.”