Good quality employment land is in short supply, says agent

Gloucestershire faces a desperate shortage of good employment land and demand is  outstripping supply, says leading commercial property estate agent Alder King.

Partner Adrian Rowley, who specialises in commercial property at Alder King, says the pandemic has accelerated the changes faced by the sector.

“A major factor affecting the commercial property market has been the growth in distribution and warehousing because of the increase in e-retail,” he said.

“Current demand has become far more immediate in terms of delivery times. Alot of requirements are for delivery of a building in 12 months and that’s because business models have changed during the pandemic with the massive shift to e-retail.

“Amazon, for example, has recently taken a site at Barnwood of 125,000 sq ft, along with a four-level, decked van park of 274,000 sq ft purely to meet increasing customer needs in the Gloucestershire area.

“As retailers’ online presence has increased, they are establishing their own warehouses in strategic locations all over the UK. In Gloucestershire businesses want three main things: immediate availability, good access, and the right location.”

He pointed to a welcome addition to the market in Gloucestershire – the employment land being developed by Robert Hitchins Ltd at Innsworth Business Park.

The 6.7 acre business park is to be located just off a major new roundabout being built on the A40 by Robert Hitchins, in partnership with the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, which forms the gateway to a mixed-use development comprising 1,300 homes, a primary school, 10-acre district centre and 4-acre office park.

“The Innsworth site provides very good quality employment land with fantastic access in a great location and it’s immediately available,” he said.  

“It’s completely adaptable and could accommodate several commercial buildings or a single facility of up to 118,403 sq ft.

“There is very little employment land of this quality in Gloucestershire and elsewhere.

“In the county as a whole, Cheltenham and Gloucester are the principal drivers of economic growth, and access is key. That makes Innsworth, which sits between the two, a prime location with easy access to the A40, the M5 and national transport routes, all via dual carriageway links.

“With 1,300 homes being developed immediately behind the site and with its close proximity to Longlevens and the residential developments at Churchdown and Twigworth this site is strategically well-positioned for sources of labour.”

Adrian added that demand has been strong for the last decade.  “There has been a terrific take-up from national and regional hi-tech, manufacturing and distribution businesses over many years but now there is a distinct shortage – larger than average in Gloucestershire – which is holding businesses back,” he said.

“Some developments have been purpose-built for the end-user and to occupier requirements whilst some have been built speculatively. Demand has come from all quarters, including the automotive and aerospace industries.”

Senior Development Manager for Robert Hitchins Ltd, Michael Plimmer, said: “We are really pleased to see this major mixed-use development at Innsworth taking shape.

“Following the extensive investment in infrastructure on the A40, there is now the opportunity to bring forward a highly prominent, key gateway development which we are confident will attract considerable occupier interest.

“We are aware of the shortage of good quality employment land and in Innsworth Business Park we feel that we can deliver a quality product to a high specification to suit the requirements of modern businesses who are either already in the area looking to grow, or looking to come into the area seeking new facilities to serve customers in Gloucester and Cheltenham.  

Innsworth Park is a phenomenal development which will bring huge economic benefits to the whole county.”

The Business Park has planning permission for E(g) and B8 uses.

Agents for the Business Park are Alder King and Cushman & Wakefield.