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Harworth plots second Logistics North commercial hub

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Developer Harworth Group is plotting a second major logistics and commercial hub in the North-west after the success of its Logistics North scheme near Bolton. 

Harworth Group finance director Andrew Kirkman said the group was “looking to do a new Logistics North” at a newly acquired site near Bolton that could house up to 2.4m sq ft of commercial space.

“We have a very good relationship with Bolton [Council]; they’re delighted with how Logistics North has gone in terms of job creation, so that’s what we’d like to do again,” he said.

However, he added that the site was still “at an early stage”, with the group “yet to start the planning process” for the project.

The expansion follows the success of Logistics North, a commercial hub outside Bolton, which has outline planning permission for around 4m sq ft of commercial, industrial and logistics space. Since gaining outline planning consent in December 2013, around 2.5m sq ft of space has already been built, is under construction, or is committed to be built at Logistics North. Completed projects at the site include Aldi’s 610,000 sq ft distribution centre, opened in April 2016. Further work is already under way at the hub, with Buckingham currently building three commercial units ranging from 47,000 sq ft to 65,200 sq ft as part of its next phase.

This next phase, dubbed Multiply, is being delivered by Harworth in partnership with the Lancashire County Pension Fund, and will deliver 10 commercial units totalling around 564,000 sq ft of space.

Mr Kirkman said the group would wait for the three units being built by Buckingham to complete before starting the next phase of Multiply.

The developer revealed last month it had purchased two sites in the Midlands: one in Coalville, Leicestershire, with planning consent for 914 residential plots; and a 36 ha site in Staffordshire, which has planning consent for 1.2m sq ft of commercial space.

Harworth has also secured outline planning at its site in Kellingley for around 1.5m sq ft of commercial space.

Mr Kirkman said demolition work and remediation work was progressing at the site, with construction likely to begin in 2019. No main contractor has yet been appointed.

The group also revealed it had secured preferred bidder position for four sites in the North-west, Yorkshire and the Midlands, with the group committing £27.1m towards strategic land by the year-end.

Mr Kirkman said that the group’s focus would be on the Midlands and the North-west to help it “rebalance its portfolio”.

“We have a strong portfolio in Yorkshire but we like the Midlands and the North-west, and we have a number of sites under option [in those regions].

“The more recent sites we’re buying into have allowed us to expand our geography.”

He added that the firm had not reported any major impacts on business from last year’s EU referendum, with a “steady level” of enquiries continuing since last year.

“The northern markets have always been steady; they have a strong manufacturing base, and they have the supply chain.

“We’ve always had a steady level of enquiries coming in and we’ve been able to respond to that.”

The group reported a pre-tax profit of £7.7m for the six months to 30 June 2017, up slightly from the £7.4m reported in the same period a year earlier.

Source: Construction News

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