January 20th, 2016

Signs of New Development at Cransley Park, Kettering

Owners, the St Francis Group have submitted a planning application seeking detailed consent to build 5 new industrial units at Cransley Park, Kettering totalling 25,000 sqm (270,000 sq ft). If a satisfactory consent is granted the units will be built immediately – that is, without having first secured occupiers.

That will trigger an immediate investment of just over £26m into the Borough with all 5 units being built in a single phase, ready for occupation by the end of 2016.

The site was originally granted outline planning consent for up to 41,790 sqm (450,000 sq ft) of development in 2006 but the recession stiffened any activity on the site as property values were too low to justify any significant investment.

St Francis did with the help of a grant from Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership remediate and service the site with a new access and estate roads.

An added impediment to development was, according to the owners, an old planning condition that said that no more than 5,000 sq m (53,842 sq ft) of space could be occupied by warehouse logistics businesses.

According to Gareth Williams, Development Director at St Francis Group, that condition is very much of it’s time and in todays market could, if imposed again scupper any plans to build at Cransley Park.

“The key here is that the new planning permission, if granted allows us complete flexibility on the type of occupier we can accommodate. This is a condition of the Fund financing the project although the Park is very likely to accommodate a range of manufacturing, light industrial and logistics occupiers. If a limit is placed on any one class of user, we will not be provided with the finance required to build these new units.”

“Since 2006 the logistics sector has evolved in response to changes in the industrial sector and today logistics warehouses typically employ one employee per 69 sq m with 89% of all employees being full time.”

“That’s a massive change from before 2010 when the numbers employed were much less. Now they are on a par with many manufacturing businesses and the quality of the space that these companies want to occupy has improved considerably. We are proposing to build 5 highly specified units at Cransley Park to meet unsatisfied demand in the local market.”

Gareth Williams, Development Director at St Francis Group

Since the recession no new industrial stock has been built in Kettering, and available land supply in the wider area for commercial occupiers has become constrained. Whilst demand for larger scale warehousing can be satisfied in other locations such as Wrath Park, Raunds and Grange Park, Northampton; St Francis is looking to attract smaller local manufacturers, internet retailers and their fulfillment partners, as well as logistics operators to Cransley Park.

Mr. Williams added:

“There is a lack of available stock in the local market and occupiers looking to expand or move into the area simply do not have any modern high quality buildings to consider. We strongly believe that if we build high quality units here, occupiers will come and invest further in the local economy.”

“At long last the market conditions are right to build on this site. We have a window of opportunity that we simply must take advantage of and a flexible planning consent will enable that”.

“Our desire to invest £26m into the local economy is a massive expression of confidence in Kettering and one that if allowed to be delivered will enhance the Borough’s efforts to drive forward the local economy. If we achieve a satisfactory planning consent, we will build this scheme and build it in a single phase in units from 25,000 sq ft to 100,000 sq ft ready for occupation by the end of 2016”.

Gareth Williams, Development Director at St Francis Group