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Warwickshire property firm seals first deal

A new property firm set up to boost the Warwickshire economy has completed its first deal.

The Warwickshire Property Development Group (WPDG) has agreed a 10-year lease with the Little Willows Pre-School on the former Whitnash Library.

The nursery has been based at the local primary school for 24 years and the deal will provide its first standalone home. It comes after the creation of a new of a new civic centre hub which houses a multi-use sports hall, library and café.

WPDG was established by Warwickshire County Council last year to realise the potential of its development sites, commercial buildings and mineral rights in the most sustainable way as possible.

The move is part of a drive to ensure that properties which are owned by Warwickshire County Council are not only fully let, but can, where possible, benefit their communities.

WPDG is tasked with realising the potential of regeneration opportunities – including the provision of affordable local housing and units for local businesses – on Warwickshire County Council-owned sites and as managing the council’s commercial property assets.

It is part of a broader £300m package of investment alongside the Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund (WRIF) which the County Council has launched to revitalise the local economy.

Councillor Peter Butlin, Deputy Leader at Warwickshire County Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property, said Little Willows was an ideal first letting for the organisation.

He said: “This deal sees a former community asset brought back into economic vitality, it provides a home for a well loved and valuable local resource, and brings in much needed funds for the council.

“WPDG has made real progress in the last few months and there are some very exciting projects in the pipeline which will bring added jobs, homes and prosperity to local communities.”

James Devereux, of WPDG, said: “The formation of WPDG has sparked a great deal of interest and we have a very healthy pipeline of activity and inquiries across all our areas of operation and also right across Warwickshire.

“It is so fitting that our first lease helps a local organisation which serves its community so well, and will allow it to move forward to further success.”

Little Willows was established in 1998 at Whitnash Primary School offering morning sessions to 13 pre-school children, and is run as a charitable trust.

But now the nursery – which currently offers breakfast and after-school clubs to 62 youngsters – is moving to the former Whitnash Library in the town.

Stacey Coulter of Little Willows, said: “This is such a great move for us and for our children. The school has been a really good home for us over the years, but it is the right time now to move into premises and the library is perfect.

“The added room will allow us to create a sensory space which will be really valuable for children for special needs, and we will have dedicated meeting rooms where we can talk in private to parents and health professionals. There will also be a new staff meeting room.

“The new centre is right at the heart of our community and will give us a very visible presence.”

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CAPTION: Stacey Coulter, Cllr Peter Butlin and James Devereux

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