Warrington stumps up £112m for Four New Bailey

The council has agreed to forward fund the construction of the 175,000 sq ft Salford building being developed by the English Cities Fund consortium, and acquire the property when it completes.

Warrington Council’s investment in the office block comes after the authority shelved plans in April to buy a chunk of US investor Harbert Management Corporation’s 4.4m sq ft Trafford Park portfolio for £220m. 

However, it has now agreed a £112m financing agreement with English Cities Fund that will pay for the construction of the building, to be occupied by telecommunications firm BT under a lease agreed this month.

Warrington Council, which in 2017 acquired the £200m Birchwood Park, said it considered six criteria when assessing the investment opportunity, including length of lease, property location, portfolio balance, tenant covenant strength and ongoing management provisions, according to a public notice of the agreement.

“Having explored a number of opportunities, this development satisfied all those key criteria over and above any other opportunities put to the council at the point of investment,” the notice said. The council will acquire the property through a 250-year lease when its construction is complete.  

Earlier this month, BT signed a 20-year lease earlier this month to take the whole building, designed by Make Architects. 

Bowmer + Kirkland is carrying out ground work on the site of Four New Bailey but a main contractor for the construction of the 10-storey block is yet to be appointed. 

English Cities Fund is a joint venture between Muse Developments, Homes England and Legal & General. 

The consortium is delivering the wider New Bailey mixed-use scheme under a development agreement with landowner Salford City Council, signed in December 2006. 

Muse Developments and Warrington Council declined to comment. Salford City Council has been contacted for comment. 

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£640.00 psf

By ChesneyT

It’s just me isn’t it?
Warrington happy to spend £112m on a part-let office block (albeit from borrowed cash) whilst Andy Burnham’s fretting over his £5m Covid fund.
Something’s missing.

By ChesneyT

Warrington purchasing and gaining income stream from an investment in Salford. I don’t understand?

By Winston

Could they possible spend a few grand then sorting the potholes out in Stockton Heath, absolute waste of space Warrington Council

By David G

I see the glorious leader of WBC is happy to spend money they haven’t got (again).

Must be great to commit years of future Council tax payers revenue to schemes like this

Be interesting to see who from WBC has a personal financial interest in the scheme

By Mr B

It’s a fully let office block. To BT. Safe as houses.


They should have no right to do things like that with out a vote from the warrington people

By R Knight

For goodness sake, this is not taking money away from services since it comes out of a different pot. It’s an investment that will provide a return. Council services are funded completely separately and there is no cross over to council tax.

People really need educating how local government works and is funded because there’s a lot of understandable ignorance out there on the matter.

By Arms folded

Could I respond to Arms Folded? I’m an ex-local government officer, so I have more than a passing acquaintance with how local government finance works. Things have changed a little since my day, but the principle remains true that councils should not invest purely for the sake of returns.

Warrington Borough Council is deeply invested in a series of projects, including a startup bank and an energy brokerage. I don’t know what the total is, but it’s public money, and huge investments. The council needs to fully communicate this sort of activity with its taxpayers.

By Jim Sullivan

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