ANOTHER £75million will be spent on commercial properties after South Somerset District Council splashed its five-year budget in just half that time.

Since 2017, the district council has been investing heavily in properties across the country - from GoCompare’s Newport HQ, to business units near Bournemouth and Milton Keynes.

The commercial strategy initially set aside £75million to be spent until 2021.

But in just over two years, the council has purchased 13 sites at a cost of more than £64million, with other deals in the final stages and set to take the expenditure to £73,435,871.

However, the Lib Dem-led council’s big-money deals won’t stop there, after councillors agreed in confidence to double the commercial budget, adding another £75million to the investment fund.

A spokesman for SSDC said: “Elements of the council’s commercial strategy were kept private for commercial confidentiality reasons.

“There is no secrecy but we have to keep certain financial information confidential to assist with negotiations so that we can secure the best deals for the benefit of our communities.

“The first investment fund was treated in exactly the same way; and as and when funds per investment are committed and transactions completed, they are announced publicly.”

When the initial £75m pot was agreed by the council, a target net yield of seven per cent was also set, which SSDC said it has achieved.

The spokesman added: “The first fund has now almost been completely invested and has met the objectives that it set, as publicly reported.

“Due to additional central government funding cuts to local government that have been announced recently, SSDC has identified that additional annual revenue will be needed in future to ensure that we can to continue to protect the vital services we deliver.

“Therefore based upon the success of the Commercial Strategy over the last two years, a further investment fund has been approved to ensure that SSDC can continue to deliver for the benefit of its communities.”

The latest investment was revealed last week, after the council paid £4.2m for a commercial premises in Devon.

Centurion Mill, near Exeter, is currently home to a fireplace manufacturer, an electricity distributor and a Gregg’s bakery.

The property comprises two industrial buildings totalling 72,246 square feet on the well-established Sowton Industrial Estate, between the M5 and Exeter’s city centre and is predicted to deliver a net initial yield of seven per cent.

Portfolio holder for economic development including commercial strategy at SSDC, John Clark, said: “With a premium location, established tenants and great value-adding potential, this property provides an excellent opportunity for us.

“We are delighted to get such a strong investment in the competitive industrial market at a yield of seven per cent.

“We are confident in their intention of the tenants to continue occupation for the foreseeable future.”