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Cambridgeshire County Council’s second major commercial acquisition this year aims to protect jobs and enhance employment in the Wisbech area – while delivering an annual financial return of more than 10%.

The council has invested £6.984m in the 250 year lease of the Cromwell Leisure Park in Wisbech – which includes a cinema and three associated commercial units. The annual rental income from all four units will provide a healthy return to support essential services - enough in fact to employ 15 social workers or pay for 24 care home placements for older people a year.

The purchase, completed last month, was agreed by the council’s Commercial and Investment Committee after a full assessment of the proposal was carried out. The completion was reported to Members at last week’s Audit and Accounts Committee.

Cllr Josh Schumann, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Commercial and Investment Committee said: “This purchase of the leisure park in Wisbech is part of our strategy to build a portfolio of investments that support the council’s objectives - to raise an excellent return for taxpayers and help to safeguard the future of essential services for people across the county.

“It is a sensible diversification from our other investment in student accommodation at Brunswick House in Cambridge, which we acquired earlier this year, in terms of income profile, sector, location and lease.”

Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council said: “We are determined to consider all opportunities to invest in schemes that will help protect jobs and enhance employment while standing on our own feet financially.

“We are being economically prudent, and taking advantage of current low interest rates which means we can make a good return on our investments, as well as helping to improve this popular local area.”

The property, sited on the busy Cromwell Road and within Wisbech’s out-of-town commercial centre, is a modern, purpose built 39,117 sq ft leisure building built in 2014. It comprises the eight-screen cinema and three ground floor restaurants, of which one is currently unoccupied. As part of the lease, the council also negotiated the inclusion of 160 parking spaces, a service yard and access road.

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