Some local authorities are pushing back against the demand for industrial development.

Jade Uko, senior account director for DevComms, told The Forum round table on February 9 that some authorities are resisting warehouses because they want innovation and lab space.

She said: “I talk to a lot of local authorities and local authorities are telling me they have had enough of industrial and some believe they are over supplied and they want to encourage lab space and the growth in science and tech.

“At the other end of the market they want to encourage innovation so that there’s start up space and grow-on space and that’s what their priorities are for the next couple of decades.”

She said Bedfordshire, South Essex and Herts are just some of the areas where councils want fewer industrial schemes.

Mike Righton from RLB, had noticed a shift in requirements of big retailers.

He said: “We had some involvement with global retailers and in the last quarter of last year, and even with the Amazons of this world, there’s a bit of change as to their requirements. Some of their space, they were looking to sell off.”

In an overview of the industrial market, Nicola Webb, associate director for SEGRO, said demand and the market as a whole had not changed substantially since activity reduced towards the end of 2022.

She added: “The end of last year was almost like a rebalancing act but the demand seems to be coming back. The rents haven’t dropped and generally I just don’t think anything is going to change – if it does change, it’s not going to change very quickly.”

Ms Webb pointed to the convenience of home working which no longer requires people to take time off work to be at home for deliveries so she expected demand to continue.

She added: “It wasn’t that long ago that people might have taken half a day off for deliveries. They don’t do that any more. People expect stuff, they want to click and want it to arrive.”

However, Philip Waddy, managing director of WWA, pointed to another modern practice.

He said: “The trouble is they address it to my office and our office is full of people’s personal belongings!”

A full list of stories from The Forum round table:

Image shows the Amazon unit at Theale.

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