Mystery business expected to secure multi-million pound council support

Rother District Council has agreed to borrow £46m to help an unnamed business stay in the area, according to official papers.

A confidential session of the council’s cabinet was told the money was needed to develop a new location for the firm.

The business has not been named but the project is being added to the council’s capital programme and details will be published once commercial contracts are agreed.

The meeting heard that the Property Investment Panel (PIP) had met on 28 July 2020 to consider the outcome of a “competitive process to keep a private sector business in Rother”. 

“It was confirmed that the council had secured retaining the business in the District of Rother dependent on Rother District Council (RDC) acting as the funder to a relocation scheme and eventual landlord,” stated the official minutes of the cabinet meeting in August.

Rother District Council’s Town Hall in Bexhill

A confidential report discussed by councillors gave details of the total expected spend on developing an alternative business location and the expected gross rental income.  

On completion, the scheme “would see an increase in overall income for RDC and improve the long-term sustainability” of the council. 

“RDC were only required to provide funding for the project, as part of a development funding agreement and would not need to procure, or commission any contracts or services beyond advisory services required to protect RDC’s interests throughout the development,” stated the minutes.

As well as agreeing the borrowing, it was ‘resolved’ that delegated authority be granted to council officials to deal with a package of measures to support the firm.

These include buying land, agreeing development funding with companies for the construction of the new premises, and negotiating a lease with the business.

It was also recommended that officials could appoint advisors for specific services, such as project management, and agree any necessary contracts to complete the project.

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