A company has agreed to move into an £8 million Newbury office building which has stood empty for two-and-a-half years.

West Berkshire Council has agreed to lease 8,000 square feet of 4 The Sector, in the Newbury Business Park, to a company which has not been named.

The Conservative-run council bought the building for £8 million in April 2018, as part of an ambitious investment programme, but is has stood empty since then.

On October 15, it signed off a lease that will see the firm occupy just under 30 per cent of the 28,700 square foot building.

However, it believes the deal could attract other tenants.

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When the council bought the building, the company that sold it agreed to pay rent, rates, and service charges until April 2020.

But the council now has to cover those costs and pay to prepare the building for the new tenants.

West Berkshire Council has invested around £63 million in commercial properties around the country, such as shops, offices, and banks.

It had planned to invest £100 million, but the ambitious project was halted earlier this year, after the government raised concerns about councils using low-cost loans to invest in property.

The council then rents those buildings out and uses the profits to fund key council services. It expects a net return of around £1.26 million (two per cent) a year.

The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts that the price of offices and commercial buildings across the country will fall by nearly 14 per cent this year.

If that’s correct, it will reduce the value of West Berkshire’s property portfolio by around £8.8 million.

However, councillor Ross Mackinnon, executive member for finance, has said the council is not concerned about that prediction because it is not planning to sell them for several decades.