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Demand for new-build small industrial units across Somerset has risen sharply this year, with many units being snapped up before construction work has completed, says property consultancy Alder King.  The competition for space is so strong, it reports, that industrial rents in Bridgwater have increased from £7.50 to £8 per sq ft and developers are progressing plans for similar new schemes on the county’s leading business park locations.

Alder King cites as examples the rapid take-up of all 18 new units in Block Z at Westpark 26 in Wellington and 13 out of 14 new mixed use units at Woodlands Business Park in Bridgwater (pictured above).

Andrew Maynard, partner at Alder King which is agent on both business parks, said: “One of the key factors in today’s industrial market is very strong demand for new build units.  The supply of good quality space is at a premium and those developers who are active and building speculatively are being rewarded with transactions agreed, in some cases before construction work started, and at the very least before practical completion. 

“We’ve seen very strong interest from a wide range of occupiers, from business start-ups to high profile multi-nationals.  Some are taking single units while others are taking two or even three units to ensure they have sufficient space to meet their requirements. We haven’t seen activity like this since before the recession and it’s a positive indicator of economic confidence in Somerset.” 

New occupiers cover a wide range of uses, including biomass heating, finance solutions, construction, health care, refrigeration and air conditioning, electrical wholesale, motorbike sales and repairs, renewable energies, automotive aftersales and powered access training.

After securing 100% take-up at Block Z on Westpark 26, the developer Summerfield is now starting work on the next size of units offering approximately 3,000 sq ft.  One of the five units has already been sold and two more are under offer.  At the same time Summerfield is preparing to submit a planning application to create a similar new small unit scheme on the park to meet continuing freehold demand. 

At Woodlands Business Park, where there is now just one remaining unit available on a leasehold or freehold basis, Roselea Properties is also looking to develop a second similar scheme.  By offering its units on sensible lease terms, Roselea has secured an even split between freehold and leasehold occupiers.

Westpark 26 is located just half a mile away from Junction 26 of the M5 and has planning consent for a wide range and mix of uses, including distribution, manufacturing, trade, office and roadside users.  Summerfield Developments is able to provide oven-ready plots suitable for design and build solutions, tailoring buildings to occupiers’ specific needs.  A petrol station with Budgens mini-supermarket and both Costa Coffee and Subway outlets opened earlier this year, joining a Marston Pub, The Skylark and a Travelodge Hotel.  Elsewhere on site, Prolift Access are in occupation of approx. 8,800 sq ft whilst WJ South West’s new 9,640 sq ft regional depot is nearing completion.  Alder King, JLL and Greenslade Taylor Hunt are marketing agents for Westpark 26.

Woodlands Business Park, located to the south of Bridgwater on the A38, is home to a wide range of occupiers including a new 34,500 sq ft distribution centre for GeoPost and the 31,000 sq ft Low Carbon Energy Innovation & Collaboration Centre which is under construction and will offer offices and workspace for companies involved in the construction of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.   Woodlands Court also has a number of plots available for design and build, ranging from 0.25 to 2.75 acres.  More information on design and build options at Woodlands Court is available from Alder King on 01823 444879.

For more information about the commercial property market in Somerset, download Alder King’s Market Monitor Update, a half-year report into 10 key centres across the South West including Bridgwater and Taunton. 

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