Prop-Search sees new era of opportunity for Wellingborough

Posted on 22 January, 2015 by admin

A devastating fire which destroyed several units on a Wellingborough trading estate is being seen by many as the start of a new era for the town’s property industry, with one leading commercial agent predicting some “interesting activity” over the coming years.


Following the Leyland Trading Estate blaze, which gutted many of the Irthlingborough Road site’s buildings, the land has now been cleared with work on a new 8,600 sq ft unit about to start. A refurbishment programme on the other factories will eventually see more than 26,000 sq ft of new or upgraded stock offered for sale or lease.

“Despite this, the industrial and warehousing market within Wellingborough continues to suffer from a chronic shortage of buildings,” commented Simon Toseland, a director at commercial agents Prop-Search.

“Throughout the recession, there has been a steady but growing take up of vacant commercial space in and around the town and this healthy take up of space has predictably led to a very limited choice for those companies looking to relocate or expand within the region.”

As demand combines with economic confidence pressure is building to satisfy local expansion. Wellingborough has the potential to deliver around five-million square feet of new commercial property, warehousing, manufacturing and logistics facilities, and manufacturing units, “but it still remains unlikely that these will be speculatively delivered to the market,” adds Toseland.

“The release of new commercial or industrial stock or land for development needs to continue in order to meet demand, However, there is now a positive approach by local authorities, being matched by strong developer interest.”

In Wellingborough itself, development to the north and east of the town are now encouragingly close to realisation. In addition to employment opportunities through industrial, warehousing and office accommodation both include a significant residential element: initially 3,000 homes between them, increasing to more than 6,000 over the next two decades.

“The increase in opportunities in the residential market, as well as commercial development, point to a significant growth in employment opportunities and with this, a boost in the retail and leisure sectors,” said Toseland.

The former Whitworths Bakery and Knapp Tool Site, opposite Castlefields Retail Park, has now been sold by Prop-Search to regeneration specialist St Modwen.  Deals have already been agreed for a McDonalds restaurant and a new Lidl supermarket. The rest of the site will be speculatively developed, offering retail units between 1,000 and 8,000 sq ft, and with work likely to start this summer.

Another key factor in the Northamptonshire town’s future prosperity is the electrification of the main rail link to London St Pancras International Station. The reduction in journey times will make the prospect of people moving to the town and commuting to London even more attractive.  “With the increased demographic, businesses will also inevitably focus on Wellingborough,” said Toseland. “Indeed we have already witnessed the start of this process, with a new development taking place at the entrance to Wellingborough.”

London Road has traditionally provided an “industrial” approach to the town. The redevelopment of the area for retail and leisure use, will also helps bring Wellingborough into the 21st century and, when complete, transform the area into a “retail gateway”.

“While this is all very positive news,” concluded Toseland, “the underlying economic conditions still make for challenging times.  Demand is increasing, confidence is improving, but despite some caution there is no doubt that Wellingborough is about to enter a new era of opportunity.”

Story: Cliff Goodwin

Image: Prop-Search

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