Council buys Orchards Shopping Centre for £23m

Haywards Heath's major shopping centre has been bought for £23.2m.

Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 6:24 pm
Orchards Shopping Centre. GV of Orchard Shopping Centre, Haywards Heath, Sussex. Picture: Liz Pearce 10/10/2016 LP1601052 SUS-161010-234638008

Mid Sussex District Council already owned the freehold of the land where the Orchards Shopping Centre is based, and decided to bid to buy the head lease from Friends Provident Life back in October.

The council’s bid has been successful, with the acquisition financed through internal and external borrowing, according to a report due to be discussed by councillors next Wednesday (December 14).

The due diligence involved inspection of every title and lease, a full building survey, environmental survey and concrete testing, service charge budget audit and pro-rata calculations, and liaison with a social landlord to take on the residential tenancies.

According to an officers’ report: “The acquisition of the shopping centre furthers the Council’s ambition to be financially independent of central government.”

The rents from tenants would give the council a revenue stream and unifying the interests of the leaseholder and freeholder into one ownership, as the district council looks to attract investment into the centre and bring new restaurants and shops to Haywards Heath.

The major tenants are Marks & Spencer, Next, and Superdrug.

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