THE latest multi-million pound purchase announced by South Somerset District Council is an office building 150 miles away.

As part of its ongoing commercial strategy, SSDC paid £9.73million for Alchemy, an office building in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

The council’s portfolio holder for commercial strategy, John Clark, said: “This is an important investment for the council, with a high quality building and tenants in an area where we can expect to see rental growth.

“The substantial income from this property will go a long way to securing local public services.”

In November, it was revealed that SSDC had already spent the £75million commercial budget which was due to last until 2021, and an additional £75million pot had been made to continue investing in properties across the UK.

The new building, near Tesco’s Welwyn Garden City headquarters, has 38,880 square feet of office accommodation. It is half a mile from the station and 30 minutes from King’s Cross.

The current tennants include the Environment Agency and Deutsche Telekom (T Mobile).

A spokesman for SSDC said: “The commercial property team is working to ensure that SSDC does not overpay for property due to the lack of supply, and is not exposed to undue risk, for example within the retail sector, where significant changes are currently occurring nationally.

“A huge and diverse range of opportunities have been considered and rejected in the past year from a car showroom in Newcastle to an industrial estate in Poole.

“SSDC is investing in a diverse range of locations and asset types to ensure that it spreads any risks attached to investments which reflects sound investment practice.

“This includes assessing whether an investment outside the district will deliver a better rate of return for our communities than a similar opportunity in South Somerset.”