An online public meeting is to be held by Spelthorne Borough Council to explain its position regarding its spending on commercial property to raise revenue.

The council, one of the smallest in the country, has spent more than £1 billion in property investments over the last four years but has now been asked by WeWork, a tenant at its 12 Hammersmith Grove offices, to waive 18 months’ rent which would cost the council £4.5 million.

Earlier this month, a row within the ruling Conservative group led to a breakaway group forming which has left the authority in no overall control. That led to the resignation as leader of Cllr Ian Harvey and the election of another Conservative, Cllr John Boughtflower as his replacement.

Two years ago the council bought a portfolio of office buildings, totalling 545,000 sq ft of space from the Landid/Brockton Capital joint venture, which included Thames Tower in Reading (pictured), the Porter Building in Slough and the Charter Building in Uxbridge, in a £285m deal.

In response to the publicity, the council has posted a lengthy statement, defending its investments.

It states: “Some articles have suggested that councils are not well-placed to make commercial investments but Spelthorne is keen to stress that it has created a dedicated team of individuals with extensive commercial experience and expertise from the private sector, whilst also working alongside professional external advisers where appropriate.

“The council has always placed great emphasis on risk management and doing thorough due diligence.”

It says the council will hold a virtual public meeting to share further details and will release the date on its website shortly.

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