Essex County Council is set to purchase an industrial unit... more than 75 miles over the county's borders in Surrey.

County Hall has agreed plans to bid for The Moorfield Centre, a building made up of four industrial units, in Moorfield Road, Guildford.

After increasing council tax for the average resident by around £60 per year in April, the council is diversifying its investments to create “sustainable” revenue streams, including investing in retail and commercial premises way over the county's borders.

In March it was revealed the council had agreed to purchase a 65,000sq ft retail park more than 200 miles away in Keighley, West Yorkshire, as well a high-end office block in Watford.

However the 23,000sq ft premises in Surrey, roughly the size of three tennis courts, will represent the first time the council has invested in industrial premises.

Louise McKinlay, councillor responsible for finance, commercial and traded services, said: “By 2021, the council faces significant financial shortfalls between demand and available funding, so generating income from sustainable sources such as property investments is one of the approaches we are using to make sure we remain financially sustainable.

“With this mind, we set up a Commercial Property fund of £50 million, to invest in commercial property with the specific intention of creating a return on investment."

All four sections of The Moorfield Centre are currently let to successful business, and the council admitted it did not have any worries about spending money so far over county lines.

Ms McKinlay said: “Over 95 per cent of UK property transactions are outside of Essex, so most of the opportunities we consider are likely to be non-Essex properties.

"We choose each investment property based upon the financial return, value for money, low risk and on the advice of our key property investment partner.”

Essex County Council would not reveal how much it is set to bid for The Moorfield Centre.

County Hall's commercial property plans were approved by its cabinet in July 2017.