The district council has bought Centric Parade on High Road, Loughton for £23.8 million.

The purchase, which includes several shop residential properties, was confirmed at the Cabinet meeting held on Monday, January 6.

Deputy leader councillor Syd Stavrou and councillor’s Holly Whitbread and councillor Aniket Patel were responsible for the multimillion spend, 15 years after the freehold was marketed for £8m.

Total costs were £23,820,950 of the purchase, consisting of the purchase price of £18,645,000, £921,750 on Stamp Duty, £340,805 on legal and professional fees and VAT costing £3,913,950.

Loughton town councillors Chris Pond and Stephen Murray expressed their disapproval of the purchase.

Cllr Pond said: “I wonder if this is really a copper-bottom silver-silver plated investment, as has been assumed.

“Given the future of retail in the country as a whole and the and the fact that units in that parade have become vacant with considerable regularity.”

Cllr Murray said: “I am not happy with this I have to say. "It does not seem right to me that such a large scale purchase can be decided by such a few councillors."

The Cabinet noted that the information provided to the decision makers showed the council may a gross annual revenue yield of £1,425,602, or 5.98 per cent against the guiding benchmark of 6 per cent.

Although not officially planned, councillors noted that future capital growth was a possibility with additional expansion and improvement to the flat units.