Business-savvy council’s property company expands with off-plan purchase

Entrepreneurial thinking and Ashford Borough Council go hand in hand. With recent substantial funding contributions to enable the construction of the Elwick Place cinema and restaurant complex in the town centre and the opening of Ashford College, its innovative property company ‘A Better Choice for Property’ continues to expand since it established in 2014.

Now the company is making its biggest purchase yet at Victoria Crescent, off Victoria Way, which represents a multi-million-pound investment in the town.

Tracey Kerly, Ashford Borough Council’s Chief Executive, said:

“The property company illustrates yet another innovative way that the council is supporting the complex and various housing needs of a growing population.”

“We’re delighted to be working with Leath Park Developments on this exciting project which will be built to the council’s lifetime homes and strict space standards that go further than national prescribed space standards.”

“We look forward to growing the business further in the coming years, with the aim of generating more revenue to maintain and enhance overall service provision.”

Darren Welch, Managing Director of Leath Park Developments (a Jenner Group Company), said:

“This is another example of Ashford Borough Council’s proactive approach to providing local housing in the area and we look forward to working with the development team to deliver 28 high quality apartments at Victoria Crescent.”

Tracey Kerly

A Better Choice for Property effectively operates as a buy-to-let investment company, targeting people in work in Ashford who can afford to rent. They are given one-year tenancies that can then be extended by further yearly increments or on a monthly rolling contract, affording flexibility to the tenants, while enabling communities to develop. The emphasis is on providing a high-quality customer experience to tenants from start to finish.

The property company has carefully grown a portfolio of 24 two, three and four-bedroom properties in the borough, ranging from flats to detached houses. The company paid interest to the council of £129,000 in the 2016-17 financial year. This money has been put towards the provision of services across the borough.

It is anticipated that in the next three years the company’s portfolio will grow to around 400-500 properties that are either in its ownership or that it is committed to owning off-plan.

The company is also seeking an experienced Commercial Development Manager as its first company-only employee to assist in identifying suitable properties to acquire and rent out and to grow the business.