Northamptonshire agrees sale of headquarters

17 Apr 18

Northamptonshire County Council has agreed the sale and leaseback of its headquarters to asset managers Canada Life Investments.

In March, the council put the sale of its headquarters on hold after the government published the results a Best Value inspection in order to give it time to reflect and consider the options. The report had criticised the council's use of capital receipts as a means of generating cash.

Now, after consulting the chief executive and the chief finance officer, the council has agreed a sale and leaseback deal worth £64m that will last for 35 years.

Matthew Golby, the new leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: “We believe that this transaction is effective in leveraging the council’s assets and covenant allowing us to maximise the benefit of very competitive pricing at this point in the market.

“I am confident that the transaction will provide the funding required to enable the transformation programme to set the council on a strong future trajectory.

“Put bluntly without this sale far more service cuts would be required and the process of reorganising local governance in the county would be carried out against a backdrop of unsustainable cuts to the very services the new councils would be created to run.”

Ainsley Moore, PwC real estate advisory leader who worked on the deal, said: “The council has taken advantage of strong market appetite to release capital at a very attractive rate in a very competitive process between a range of long-term investors.”

The council’s headquarters at One Angel Square were only opened in October 2017, a move that was supposed to save on running costs of the council’s 12 separate offices.

Image credit: Hazel Nicholson, Flickr Images

Northamptonshire County Council timeline

January 2018- Sajid Javid sends in inspector to investigate the council’s financial management.

February 2018- the council issues the first ‘section 114’ notice in 20 years, banning all spending except on statutory services.

February 2018- the council plans to sell off their brand new headquarters to generate cash.

February 2018- auditors warn the council’s budget may not be lawful.

February 2018- the council pass a revised budget.

March 2018- inspector Max Caller publishes report recommending the county is split into two unitaries.

March 2018- council accepts the reports findings - leader Heather Smith steps down.

March 2018- Javid announces that the council will continue to make majority of decisions despite government commissioners’ involvement.

April 2018- Matthew Golby appointed new council leader. 

April 2018- Leaseback agreement of headquarters is agreed.

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