Within Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire 53 per cent of the available square footage is in buildings of more than 100,000 sq ft, which represents eight per cent of the entire building stock.
John de Kanter, InStaffs chief executive, says: “Next year promises to be just as tough, but we refuse to let the recession beat us and we retain confidence in our portfolio and our ability to attract high profile investors to the area.”
In a bid to ease the situation and attract potential occupiers, InStaffs has lobbied the government to try and amend the rating policy, but so far there has been no change.
“It is unfortunate that we are in this situation because Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire boasts some impressive buildings which would be an asset to any firm, says de Kanter.
“For example, this year saw the completion of the spectacular Blue Planet development in North Staffordshire – the first industrial building in the world to be awarded an excellent rating by BREEAM,” he adds.
The biggest change on last year is the decline in the number of speculative build projects. 2007/08 saw an unrivalled number of schemes in the market, but this dried up during 2008/09 as a result of the severe credit crunch.
“Speculative build activity is an important part of inward investment, but this faded away last year largely due to the recession, difficulty in obtaining finance and the levy of the Empty Building rating on premises with a rateable value of more than £15,000,” says de Kanter.
“The latter has had an extremely negative effect on design & build decisions by a developer.”