The £600m Cornwall Council Investment Programme

14th January, 2019

By Andrew James

We have been hearing and reading some details about the Cornwall Investment Programme (CIP) for a number of months now and thought it opportune to provide an overview of what it is – but first we should say what it is not…

Background

It is important to note that it is not a ‘fund’ to be bid into by prospective applicants.  It is, to my understanding, £600m that Cornwall Council will borrow to invest in the development of houses and workspace to earn a return for Cornwall Council.

Further background lifted from press articles that give a feel for the motivations and objectives of the CCIF:

  • “The vision of the Investment Programme is for the Council to invest now in house building, economic development and property in order to generate income from council tax, business rates and/or rental income in the future”
  • “It’s being billed as a move away from a grant based economy to a model in which the Council ends up being the investor, the shareholder or landlord and then harvests the profits of these adventures which they can then spend on adult social care, potholes and toilets.”

 

The CCIF is in response to and/ or complements some major changes in the funding for the county, including the reduction in European Funding following Brexit and the proposed retention of business rates by local authorities.

 

If/when the CIP is formally approved, (we understand that this could be next week) the team heading up the project will start recruitment of the team to deliver the programme (see further below).

Workspace – Interaction with the Cornish business community

I had previously read that:

“…£89 million is earmarked to build commercial and industrial property which is hoped will attract investors and create new jobs.”

Based on my colleague’s recent phone call with Interim Lead, CIP Development Unit the exact interaction with the business community is to be determined/ clarified, but it would appear:

  • An LLP is being set up to deliver the programme
  • The LLP will be a property developer
  • Initially, at least, this LLP will develop projects from its own pipeline

The team have had a few approaches from Owner Occupiers about sale and leaseback arrangements and it does not appear that any will be progressed at this stage.   The impression my colleague had was that the concept of the CIP buying and leasing back workspace may be considered in the future.

More details

Based on my colleague’s recent phone call, the CIP should hopefully be up and running and able to share more details of its plans by spring/ early summer. In the interim, we will try and keep you informed when we have more details and/or when information on the programme is posted up onto the Cornwall Council website.

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