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Why public-private partnerships are building growth for Leeds City Region

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17 Mar 2017

Britain is facing a continued under-supply of new-build modern manufacturing, industrial and logistics property. Allied to growing demand and low vacancy rates, this is an issue that could hamper UK economic growth.

Additionally, development finance for new builds continues to be heavily restricted with traditional funds being focused on ‘big-box’ logistics as a way of securing quicker returns from larger companies, while small to medium-sized (SME) businesses have been reluctant to commit to new units until there is evidence of the unit being built. This is ultimately hurting the growth of these businesses.

Here at Harworth Group, we have recognised the vital role that developers and others can play in filling the commercial property supply chain gap for manufacturing and logistics units aimed at the SME community and why public-private partnerships are paramount in bringing development forward.

None more so is that true than in the dynamic Leeds City Region. It is home to the UK’s largest manufacturing base and is a hub for the logistics sector, being located centrally for wider supply chain and transport network requirements.

Harworth believes Leeds City Region has a golden opportunity to be the lead city region in the industrial property sector. That is why we are working with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and local authorities in Leeds City Region on novel alternative options to build industrial and logistics units.

A perfect example of this is at Gateway 45 Leeds, Leeds City Region’s largest advanced manufacturing and logistics base previously known as Temple Green. The 165 acre site, located close to Junction 45 of the M1, sits within the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone – an employment zone fully supported by Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Leeds City Council and the Department of Communities and Local Government that offers occupiers a range of incentives, including Business Rate Relief, to support businesses’ moves into the region.

Aire Valley Land, the joint venture partnership of Evans Property Group and Harworth Group, recently announced that it is to speculatively develop around 150,000 sq ft of industrial accommodation at the site. With planning permission already in place for more than 2.5m sq ft of developed space, the joint venture team has decided to press ahead with speculatively developing two units of 100,000 sq ft and 50,000 sq ft to respond to the lack of quality commercial space in the region and to accelerate plans to bring occupiers to site. Construction is planned this year.

By bringing forward two units with all the associated benefits of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone, we are meeting the widely reported shortage of industrial space in the region head-on and showing an appetite for delivery which the scheme can build upon.

We are indebted to both the LEP and Leeds City Council for their ongoing support at Gateway 45, which has included the Council’s 1,000 space Park and Ride transport hub.

It is true partnership working such as this that will ensure Leeds City Region remains at the forefront, not only of manufacturing and logistics, but also as a vital supporter to the UK’s thriving SME sector.