Recent market activity indicates that a shortage of industrial workspace in southern England looks set to escalate unless new solutions to the problem can be found. According to Savills estate agents, the availability of existing warehouse space across the UK has fallen by 71% since 2009(1), and only 3.5m square feet of new logistics space is being built annually. That number falls significantly short of the 18m square feet of annual additional space which international property company Colliers estimates the UK and Ireland require(2), in order to satisfy the growing need for industrial workspace.
This lack of supply and the resulting rise in rental and purchase costs presents businesses in the South with significant challenges in sourcing commercial and industrial premises in prime locations. Jerry Vigus, Director of Capital Markets at commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton, states that 2017 sees the industrial and logistics sector in the South continuing to experience a “shortage of available buildings to let and rents still showing signs of increasing.”(3) Dominic O’Brien, Director of industrial workspace solutions provider Spaceway said: “We have worked for a broad range of clients from many industries over the last 40 years, and the feedback we get is that there is an increasing shortage of good quality office and logistics spaces available here in the South. As a result, many companies are seeking more flexible industrial properties which they can convert into offices, production and storage facilities.”
The surge in demand for warehouse space is driven largely by an ongoing rise in online shopping – a trend which is set to continue. The Centre for Retail Research predicts that online retail will account for more than 20% of retail sales by 2018, leaping from 12.7% today(4). As each additional €1 billion of online sales requires an extra 775,000 square feet of warehouse space(5), according to a report by logistics property developer Prologis, it seems clear that the need for additional space in the industrial sector is only going to increase.
With planning restrictions limiting the potential for new facilities to be built, and city-centre commercial premises being converted to residential use to ease housing shortages, it is crucial that solutions to the industrial property shortage are found if UK businesses are to continue to grow unhindered. Real estate law firm Addleshaw Goddard has set forth 12 policy recommendations for the government’s industrial strategy(6). These range from the identification and allocation of new land for industrial use, through to improved infrastructure and financial support for logistics businesses. In addition to these medium to long-term strategies, Spaceway believes that businesses need solutions which they can implement immediately. With expertise in helping businesses to develop their existing workspaces for maximum effectiveness and efficiency, the Hampshire-based company suggests that businesses in southern England who find themselves struggling to expand due to the current commercial property climate, approach the situation from a “don’t move, improve” perspective.
Director Dominic O’Brien comments that “We view the lack of workspace as a challenge rather than a problem. As experts in a wide range of both industrial and office space planning, we provide a broad range of options and solutions to any type of business across the South who needs more office, storage or industrial workspace. For example, we can convert an industrial unit from a storage facility into a multi-use premises of both office and storage. We are so confident in what we offer, that we believe we can double your existing workspace.”
Businesses who have adopted Spaceway’s workspace optimisation solutions include Specsavers, for whom Spaceway turned 250 desk locations into 400 via an ingenious office redesign; John Lewis, whose new office pods now enable meetings, training and shift changeovers to take place within their distribution centre; and greetings card manufacturer Carte Blanche, whose existing warehouse has been transformed into a Fulfilment Centre capable of dealing with orders for the group’s entire portfolio of brands. Case studies from businesses small and large, from the Isle of Wight to Swindon can be viewed at http://spaceway.co.uk/news/
These examples of businesses achieving their goals without having to contend with the difficulties of sourcing new industrial or office workspace can serve as a beacon of hope to others in this part of the country. By utilising Spaceway’s “don’t move, improve” ethos, businesses here in the South can focus on growing successfully without having to worry about where the necessary square footage will come from. Spaceway are currently running an obligation-free “Challenge Us to Double Your Workspace” initiative, to businesses of all sizes throughout the South – call 0800 085 1022 for more details.
(1) Savills click to read original article
(2) Financial Times click to read original article
(3) Lambert Smith Hampton click to read original article
(4) “Retail Futures 2018” forecast by The Centre for Retail Research click to read original article
(5) “Opportunities in the European Industrial Property Market,” report by Prologis click to read original article
(6) “How Soon is Now?” logistics report policy recommendations by Addleshaw Goddard click to read original article