Gloucestershire open for business…

Gloucestershire open for business…

Despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, businesses in Gloucestershire are doing their best to ignore the shenanigans in Whitehall and remain positive.

Across the region the industrial sector continues to perform well; occupier demand has been robust and with an under supply of units there has been good levels of rental growth which in turn has helped generate investor interest. On the occupier front, St Modwen have completed the final Phase of their scheme at Gateway 12 with occupiers including Amazon and Samworth Brothers now on site; St Modwen will be starting work shortly on a new 900,000 sq ft business park adjacent to Junction 12 of the M5 providing much needed space for the area. A number of sizeable deals have been concluded at Gloucester Business Park with a new facility completed for TBS Engineering and work under way for Takao and Dowty Propellers. Investment deals include L&G’s acquisition of Kingsditch Trade Park in Cheltenham and Telereal Trillium’s purchase of Chancel Close in Gloucester.

The Gloucestershire office market has improved significantly in recent years with Cheltenham in particular seeing a marked increase in rental values with Grade A space now commanding levels in excess of £30 per sq ft. The improvement in rental values and levels of take up have encouraged speculators to develop or refurbish further space such as Formal Investments landmark building, Honeybourne Place. Ecclesiastical Insurance have recently announced their commitment to a new 60,000 sq ft HQ Building at Gloucester Business Park which is a positive statement for the County. Redundant or dated office accommodation continues to attract interest for conversion to residential.

The difficulties facing the retail market are well publicised with the sector facing ongoing challenges with more people opting to shop online. The new John Lewis store is now open in Cheltenham and the Brewery continues to attract occupiers suggesting Cheltenham remains a viable trading location. Gloucester Quays moves from strength to strength with the latest Phase including a 27,000 sq ft Next Clothes store and in the City Centre, the Kings Quarter scheme is finally underway with the first phase involving the new bus station completed. Work has just commenced on the next phase which will result in further improvements to what is an important gateway to the City Centre.

A 326 acre site in close proximity to GCHQ is being promoted for the development of a cyber park. The developers have indicated that ‘£650million would be invested in the plans which would create 7,000 jobs and provide 1,200 new homes.’ Should the scheme proceed it would lead to significant investment in Gloucestershire’s economy and retain Cheltenham’s status at the forefront of cyber security.

Following a public consultation, the Government’s Road Investment Strategy has set out the intention to upgrade the A417 “Missing Link” between the Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout to improve safety, support the economy, ease congestion and reduce pollution. A timescale is yet to be agreed however the   scheme is expected to take place in the government's next road investment period between 2020 and 2025.

Elsewhere in the County, the new Gloucestershire College Campus in the Northern Quarter in Cinderford has been completed and a decision has been made in principle to develop a Community Hospital on the neighbouring land. Both will hopefully lead to further regeneration in the Forest area.

The Brexit negotiations will undoubtedly ensure some caution remains in the marketplace, but as the above confirms, there is an appetite in Gloucestershire for business and the proposed developments will continue to make it an attractive place to live and work.

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