Dawsongroup, headquartered at Tongwell in Milton Keynes, has completed the sale of a parcel of land for £42m. The sale is thought to be a record sale per acre outside the M25 for land classified as B1/B8. The land measures 14.70 acres and is located just outside the village of Brogborough at junction 13 of the M1.
Freya Dawson led the deal as Group Property Director, securing a sale of nearly £3m per acre of land. Originally purchased as agricultural land, the current average land value for prime arable land in Bedfordshire, the location of the site, is £10,725 per acre. After achieving a B1/B8 change of use with planning permission and the subsequent competitive bidding process, the company realised an astonishing 27,972% increase in price per acre under its ownership.
Peter Dawson, Chairman, originally bought approximately 70 acres of agricultural land in the early 1970s for around £45,000. Due to its close proximity to the M1, Dawson saw the purchase as an investment with future potential. In 2008, Highways England made a compulsory purchase of a section down the middle of the site, separating it into three parcels on one side and one on the other.
The company planned to develop a new headquarters on the single parcel as it was clear it would be the most likely of the sites to fall under employment land given its location. In 2016, Ms Dawson began the extensive planning process to seek approval to build the new headquarters, securing the planning permission in July 2020.
However, following the effects of the global pandemic, the company re-evaluated its plans as it had become clear that building a new 65,000 sq. ft. office was not the same priority for the business. Instead, it was decided that a new headquarters would be built on the existing Tongwell site, and in December 2021, Dawsongroup’s main board agreed to sell the single parcel.
Freya Dawson, Group Property Director
Freya Dawson said, “The original purchase decision by our group chairman was astute and very forward-thinking. I felt a huge responsibility to realise the value of this site, so to achieve a sale for a sum of this size and what is thought to be a record price per acre, was a solid achievement by everyone involved. I’m proud to have driven this deal from start to finish with the business achieving such a fantastic return on investment.
“Our sales agent, Nick Roberts from Drake Commercial, and our solicitor, Darren Debock from Freeths, were integral to the success of the land sale and both did an excellent job. To be told that the sale could represent a record quantum outside the M25 really solidified what an achievement it was.”
Achieving the high sale price for the land has provided Dawsongroup with the funds to, under Ms Dawson’s leadership, invest into the group’s long term property strategy.
Ms Dawson added, “We are in now in the process of submitting planning permission to build a bespoke building at our existing Tongwell location. The new development will allow us to implement a more efficiently run building and provide a high-quality working environment for our employees.”
Thirty acres of the original 70-acre purchase still remains under Dawsongroup ownership after the recent high value, unconditional purchase.
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