Industrial demand in Redditch remains strong as its position in the centre of the country continues to attract technology firms and manufacturers, according to property agents John Truslove.
In a review 2012 they point to the sector’s resilience and ability constantly to reinvent itself.
Ben Truslove, of John Truslove, highlighted the firm’s experience whereby Industrial is up ten per cent on 2011 which itself was ahead more than 20 per cent on 2010.
He said: “Redditch continues to attract a broad variety of industrial sectors including design, manufacturing, assembly and distribution.
“These have included a decent number of lettings of more than 10,000sqft such as the high-spec units at Threadneedle’s Trafford Park scheme, where we were sole agents, and which is now fully let. To accommodate their continued expansion, Multi-Automation, who design and build machines for production line manufacturing, took one of the last remaining units.
“We see successful expanding local businesses through to big regionals and international companies who are looking to utilise the dedicated and skilled workforce that is available in the Midlands as well as its excellent communication links.
“It is primarily these two factors, along with some excellent industrial parks, which is the basis for Redditch thriving.”
So much so that there is now a very limited supply of vacant industrial stock less than 20 years old in the Town.
The Office sector, said Mr Truslove, had also picked up – with the take-up figures for 2012 being more than triple those of 2011, both in terms of sales and lettings.
“Again it is down to a spread of business activity including successful start-ups and niche operators as well as the larger established companies.”
John Truslove was responsible for one of the biggest office lettings in the Midlands during 2012, which has seen Ravensbank House in North Moons Moat fully let. Swiss packaging machine manufacturer Bobst Group announced a major expansion, taking more than 10,000sqft of high specification space to provide a showroom and offices.
Unfortunately, Retail is not matching the Industrial and Offices performance.
Mr Truslove said: “To put it bluntly the High Street continues to be difficult. “Think of all the national chains like JJB which have hit big problems – the whole sector is struggling. “With the economy proving problematic, consumers have been keeping a close check on their spending.
“Which is why it is so important for towns and cities to offer the welcome mat in every way possible. Unfortunately that is not always the case.”
Making it easy and inexpensive to park is one vital incentive, with Redditch town centre in particular need of attention.
Mr Truslove noted: “I am pleased to hear that Redditch Council are considering providing on-street parking in the Town Centre; whether or not this comes to anything is another matter though. Positive action is essential if they want to breathe life into the Church Green business and shopping district, which forms the traditional hub of the Town. “It appears that the message is finally getting through that a lack of short-term parking combined with the use of aggressive parking wardens is killing local businesses. Understandably, it puts people off visiting the Town when they have more convenient options such as out of town retail parks, which offer free parking, or staying at home and shopping on line.”
As for 2013, Mr Truslove is hopeful that the property market will develop further.
He said: “The figures for the past three years show that the demand for industrial and office space in Redditch is steadily improving but the big question mark remains retail. Whilst we are very much hoping for a turnaround I fear that the retail sector will remain tough for the foreseeable future.”