The war of words between Thames Tap’s anonymous Secret Agent and Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council began with our agent’s view on the office market in Basingstoke. It prompted a response from deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and property Cllr John Izett.

Then our agent hit back last week insisting policy changes were needed at the council. Now Cllr Izett has responded again – and he hints at news of a new deal in the town.

It is disappointing that the response from your anonymous correspondent still paints an inaccurate picture of the council’s role in Basingstoke’s office market. I will keep this brief and respond to some of the inaccuracies in the piece. 

It is incorrect to say this council won’t release freehold sites for office development.  The Florence Building site on Basing View was sold long lease at a peppercorn rent. We have recently offered the 40,000 sq ft  Neon site on Basing View for sale.

It is incorrect to say this council has failed to secure pre-lets. As your readers will know, pre-lets are hard to deliver. The pre-let of 45,000 sq ft in 2018 to Eli Lilly was one of the very few pre-lets over the last decade in the Thames Valley and was only achieved because of the good relationship with the company and the commercial approach taken.

It is not correct to give the impression that Village Hotels coming to Basingstoke was somehow inevitable and the deal owed nothing to the council. The facts are that we supported the change of use on Basing View to a hotel and sold the site.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is a pro-business council, encouraging occupiers and investors alike. I am pleased that in the last few days we have agreed a sale of another property, shortly to be announced, that will be transformed by the new owners into 165,000 sq ft of outstanding office space.

I repeat the offer for the writer to come to Basingstoke so that I can show them the real picture.

Opinions in this column are those of individual contributors and not those of UK Property Forums. If you are involved in the property world and wish to contribute an anonymous article, contact Alan Bunce at

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