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130M SF New Logistics Floorspace Could Be Massive For The North West, If The Government Would Let It

Computer generated image of Symmetry Park, Merseyside where Tritax Symmetry is currently engaging in public consultation for the 1M SF employment park in Huyton.

One of the five developers caught by a government decision to call in all the north west’s major logistics development plans has published a report showing how massively logistics could grow in the region — if the government would let it.

The document, researched by Turley and published by Tritax Symmetry, said 130M SF of logistics development by 2050 has “the potential to achieve transformational growth and create an additional 174,000 jobs by 2050 if key barriers are addressed”. 

The document fires a broadside at the English government, saying several areas need ‘substantial improvement’ to achieve the region’s growth potential. These include: supply of sites and premises, infrastructure investment and development, closing the north’s skills gap and delivering planning policy reform.  

Earlier this summer English planning minister Robert Buckland called in five large north west logistics schemes totalling 4M SF, in the process suspending progress on the region's development pipeline. The schemes included Tritax Symmetry’s 1.4M SF Symmetry Park in Wigan.

The publication also coincides with the submission of developer Eshton's plans for a 500K SF logistics development at Burnley.

The research suggests an average annual growth of nearly 5,000 jobs and £845M gross value added in the years to 2050, if  ‘transformational growth’ of around 130M SF of new development is permitted.

The GVA of the logistics sector in the North of England is £15.3B a year and is estimated to rise to £20.9B a year by 2039.

While the north west has the second-largest supply of large units of the UK’s regions, the five-year average take-up of grade-A space indicates that there is just 1.45 years of supply left in this area. Speculative development has continued in the region for units over 100K SF though generally there is a limited development pipeline of larger units.

“Logistics is an economic enabling sector, and if this growth is stymied or not supported, then the growth potential of other sectors will likewise be curtailed,” Tritax Symmetry Planning Director Matt Claxton said.