Developer has sold two industrial estates to help finance an £80m investment in a new retail park in Oxfordshire

Sir Robert McAlpine, Dixon Jones, Quadrant 3, Crown Estate

The Crown Estate said it had sold Zenith Industrial Estate in Basildon for £19m to property fund manager Cordea Savills and Cabot Park in Avonmouth for £31m to the BlackRock UK Property Fund and Canmoor.

It said this had helped it commit £80m to the development of the285,000 sq ft Banbury Gateway retail park in Oxfordshire, with the developer acquiring its interest from LXB Retail Properties.

The scheme, which has already secured pre-lets from M&S and Next, gained planning permission in 2012 and development is expected to begin in early 2014.

James Cooksey, head of the Crown Estate’s regional portfolio, said: “Consumer trends continue to show a preference for destination retailing which is why we increasingly see retailers consolidate into larger, more dominant schemes.

“These market dynamics, our specialist skills and critical mass underpin our investment in assets like Banbury Gateway and our commitment to the sector, which we expect will continue to outperform.”

The developer said the move typified its investment strategy of focusing on the sale of non-core assets to provide working capital for investment in its key sectors: prime regional retail and leisure, property in London’s West End, rural land and offshore renewable energy.

The Crown Estate’s regional portfolio is currently valued at around £1.8bn.