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East Hampshire buys building in Sunderland

East Hampshire District Council has expanded its property portfolio by purchasing a £8.9m government building in Sunderland.

Wear View House has been used by the government, most recently the Department for Communities and Local Government, for more than 20 years.

The building is home to more than 500 staff and serves as a key regional call centre handling unemployment claims and jobseekers.

According to the local authority, it now has a property portfolio worth more than £110m.

The district council is one of a growing number of local authorities, which are investing in commercial property to make up for a shortfall in central government funding.

In November, West Sussex County Council bought an office block for £11.25m in Crawley to secure ‘new, long-term funding sources for the services it provides to its residents’.

‘Our property team examines the market looking for the best investments,’ said the council’s director of regeneration and place, Simon Jenkins.

‘This property has a tenant with a long-term commitment to the site, provides an attractive return and offers us a rock-solid income.

‘Councils have had to find new ways to generate their own income and our strategy to build a balanced and diverse property portfolio has helped us maintain our excellent public services and put £1.5m towards community and welfare projects.’

You can read New Start’s feature on whether councils are gambling on their future by buying shopping centres here.

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