Drive to free up by Worcestershire’s motorway junctions for business use

JohnDillon

Land around Worcestershire’s six motorway junctions should be allocated exclusively for employment use to address the county’s shortage of business premises and prevent companies re-locating elsewhere, according to one of the county’s leading commercial property agents.

Addressing an audience of more than 200 business leaders at Worcestershire LEP’s (WLEP) annual conference, John Dillon, Managing Director of Worcestershire commercial property consultancy and Chartered Surveyors GJS Dillon, said the shortage of warehouses, industrial units and offices in Worcestershire is most acute for micro and small enterprises which make up more than 97% of the county’s businesses.

Mr Dillon said:  “Worcestershire has been incredibly successful in creating, attracting, retaining and growing smaller businesses which employ up to 49 people, but it is this area of the property market where vacancy rates are lowest, around 0.5% for industrial properties and 4.3% for offices.  This means that many businesses are struggling to find suitable premises in which to expand, with the risk that they will move out of the county to where premises are more readily available.”

The solution, according to Mr Dillon, who is working collaboratively with WLEP, Worcestershire County Council, landowners, developers and fellow commercial property agents to address the issue, is for district councils to allocate land around Junctions 4 to 7 of the M5 and around Junctions 1 and 2 of the M42 for small industrial and warehouse units and offices in their Local Development Plans.

 “Our motorways which offer easy access to the rest of the country already play a large part in Worcestershire’s business success,” he said.

“The six motorway junctions provide ready-made, existing infrastructure around which to base industrial and business parks.  The industrial development at Worcester Six shows that this is possible, but this offers only large units, and we need to ensure new developments meet the needs of the majority small businesses with industrial and warehouse units available from 2,000 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft to rent and buy.

“Market leading initiatives, such as selection of the county to be one of only six UK Testbeds for 5G mobile telecommunications, and the help on offer from WLEP, the County Council and others, will inevitably make Worcestershire even more attractive as a business location, so it is imperative that we all continue to move forward together to overcome the issue of the shortage of business premises.”