The battlle to secure planning for big sheds in the South continues… Liza Helps reports on the latest moves
Meanwhile things have yet to reach that point in Andover where Goodman has just witnessed a narrow defeat of its plans for a 900,000 sq ft warehouse on Andover Airfield.
It was reported that emotions ran high at the meeting, which was packed with STOP! protestors. Richard Sullivan of Savills attended the charged meeting. He says: “It was handled very well – there was a lot of emotion in the room which could have got out of hand. Whenever you get an application of this size clearly there are serious issues that need addressing. The application was discussed from 5.30pm to 10.15pm. However the result was disappointing for us and was, in spite of the case officer’s recommendation for approval, backed up by all the consultants including the Highways Authority.”
It would seem that all the locals are against the development and that democracy has triumphed if only for a short while, but all is not as it seems in Andover. Following the report of the decision in the “Andover Advertiser”, the local newspaper’s website has been inundated with e-mail posts in support for the scheme. The application was only narrowly defeated 13:11 and now the scheme has to go to a full planning control meeting in about a month. If the application, which is now subject to the most stringent parameters, fails again then it is likely that the developer will go to appeal.
There certainly seems to be demand for warehouses in Andover aside from Tesco wishing to take space there at Goodman’s scheme. Recently Frobisher, asset managers to UBS Triton Fund, obtained planning consent for the development of a 43,500 sq ft high-bay distribution unit on Walworth Industrial Estate. The existing buildings will be demolished and the site cleared for construction once a pre-let is secured. The unit will have 10m eaves and seven loading doors. This next phase of the development follows recent lettings totalling over 150,000 sq ft within UBS’ Walworth Initiative, a refurbishing and sustainable redevelopment project on buildings at the Walworth Industrial Estate.
Jason Webb of Vail Williams says: “Traditionally the Andover market has been held back by poor quality stock which does not meet modern occupiers’ requirements. The recent lettings as part of the Walworth Initiative scheme have underlined the fact that demand exists in Andover.”
Within the scope of UBS’ Walworth Initiative sites are available for construction of high-bay warehousing from 40,000 sq ft to 95,000 sq ft on a pre-let basis and from circa 17,000 sq ft up to 80,000 sq ft on a refurbished basis. Joint agents are Vail Williams, Dreweatt Neate and Hollis Hockley.
According to Adrian Whitfield of Lambert Smith Hampton: “There is an acute shortage of land available for distribution.” In particular around the Southampton area south of Andover.
Ed Thomason of Knight Frank says he assigned a lease on a 55,000 sq ft facility in Eastleigh to PEI Genesis without even having to market the building and it did have an odd leasing arrangement. “This proves that there is a lack of good quality buildings of that size bracket in the market.”
It is precisely that sentiment that has Royal London speculatively developing a new 58,307 sq ft high-bay warehouse facility at Royal London Park, Flanders Road, Hedge End. The new Unit 1, replaces a redundant printed circuit board factory, and will have 10m eaves. Joint agent Webb, says: “There are very few buildings, which will have the height, and therefore the storage capacity of Unit 1 Royal London Park. Roger Holt of Atisreal, the other joint agent, says he is already in negotiations with potential occupiers. Quoting rent for the development is £7.50 per sq ft.
Holt says there is another building being put forward for redevelopment on Oriana Way at the Nursling Trading Estate. Landlord CBRE Investors plans to demolish the existing building and replace it with a 61,000 sq ft unit. One of the largest buildings available is Avalon – an 110,000 sq ft refurbished unit. Whitfield reports three interested parties. There is a lot of interest in 100,000 sq ft in Littlehampton, which is on the market through Atisreal on behalf of The Body Shop.
In Portsmouth, Dominic Faires of DTZ is dealing with one of the few sites that could accommodate a unit over 50,000 sq ft. SEGRO’s Voyager Park on Waterfield Road provides D&B options on a number of plots of up to 12 acres. Joint letting agents are Lambert Smith Hampton and Vail Williams. Faires says: “Currently several plots are under offer including a 2.5-acre site in Voyager North.”