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Lib Dems expose almost £50 million loss on property investment

January 19, 2022 11:33 AM

Will Forster outside Quadrant CourtThe Lib Dems have exposed an almost £50 million loss of value in just two commercial properties owned by Surrey County Council.

In 2017, Surrey County Council's property company Halsey Garton, purchased Malvern Retail Park for £75m and the Debenhams store in Winchester for £15.8m. However, in response to a question from Lib Dem Group Leader Will Forster, the County Council confirmed that the Malvern Retail Park is now only valued at £35m and the Debenhams site in Winchester is only worth £6.25m.

On top of the loss of value, no income is being received on the Debenhams site and rent from the Malvern Retail Park is less than expected when it was purchased.

Lib Dem Group Leader, Councillor Will Forster, said:

"The decision by the Conservatives running Surrey County Council to invest so much public money in properties way outside of Surrey was a controversial one at the time. It is now clear that decision was an appalling financial one as well."

"It is quite shocking financial incompetence to buy two commercial properties for £90.8m, and yet only 5 years later they only be worth just £41.25m: that's a loss of value of almost £50m. The Tory-run Council needs to treat public money with the respect it deserves and only invest council taxpayers' money wisely."