UKWA calls for more land for warehouse development

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The UK Warehousing Association has called on local and national policy makers to make more land available for warehouse development amid a critical shortfall in available warehouse space.

The UKWA jointly with real estate agent Savills has produced a white paper to back its demand showing that there is a critical lack of supply and development nationwide.

The report, titled: ‘The size and make up of the UK Warehousing Sector’ notes that supply of warehouses in the UK currently stands at 32 million square feet, giving a vacancy rate of 7.5 per cent. However, the true vacancy rate is even smaller as Savills classifies 6.5 million square feet as grade C stock, which may never be occupied again as a distribution warehouse due to not being fit-for-purpose for today’s logistics requirements. The study also reveals that 51 per cent of take up has been for Build to Suit units, meaning that land will become increasingly scare in prime logistics locations.

UKWA CEO Peter Ward said: “Policy makers must not overlook a fundamental factor for UK logistics to continue to thrive and to feed and clothe our people: the warehouse itself. This report reveals the true scope of the property challenge facing the logistics sector and UK plc.

“We call on policy makers, both nationally and locally, to acknowledge the importance of the logistics industry and to deliver policy which allows for the growth of the space required for our industry to continue delivering.“

Kevin Mofid, head of industrial research at Savills, said: “The availability of modern and fit for purpose warehouse space has the potential to be a real pinch point for the logistics industry in the coming years. While this initial white paper doesn’t quantify the amount of allocated land in pipeline many schemes that we are tracking are not necessarily deliverable in the short term.

“This paper will help frame the debate on the importance of logistics real estate to the logistics industry, and the vitality of the UK economy moving forward.”

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