Occupiers seeking industrial space in Reading are being forced to look elsewhere due to the town’s lack of supply.

Haslams Chartered Surveyors has published its industrial market report for 2023, which spells out how the Greater Reading area’s supply of new developments in the sector is at its lowest level since the firm began recording the data in 2015.

Supply which stood at 1.4 million sq ft in 2010, is now at around 540,000 sq ft and that includes 129,190 sq ft which UPS put on the market last year.

Haslams managing partner Neil Seager told Thames Tap: “Anyone moving to the Thames Valley won’t move into Reading so they will go somewhere else – probably near the M3.”

Electronics equipment supplier TP Link is expanding from 40,000 sq ft in the Cardiff Road industrial area to 80,000 sq ft at Greenham Common due to the lack of suitable supply in Reading.

Even when developers want to build the planning system can get in the way. Panattoni’s plans for 215,000 sq ft at Theale, already scaled back to 174,000 sq ft because of objections from West Berkshire Council, has been withdrawn. A new one is due imminently.

Mr Seager argues there should be less resistance to greenfield development but he points to one brownfield site where the system still led to cost and delay. The Planning Inspector’s ruling, last month, to allow the former Adwest building in Woodley to make way for Hurricane Urban Hub, a 150,000 sq ft industrial scheme, was the culmination to a fight that started in 2021.

Goya Developments won approval to redevelop the site after thousands had campaigned to keep the building, once used by Miles Aircraft.

After an initial deferment, Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee refused the application against officers’ recommendation, largely on heritage grounds, even though Historic England had refused to list it.

Mr Seager said: “It was a pure political statement because they had so many objections – but they knew they would lose on appeal. It was the worst example of a planning decision – it could have been built and let in half that time.

“The council should be worried about the job creation on a brownfield site. A lot of blue collar workers would have been working on that site.”

Mr Seager said rents have increased as the shortage of supply has tightened and yields have improved. However, construction costs have risen in line with rents.

He went on: “If you look back at our reports in 2017, rents were £11 per sq ft, now they are in the high teens so it’s almost doubled in the last five years.

“Everyone got excited in 2017 when the £11 barrier was broken, but we didn’t think it would go higher than that.”

Haslams’ merger with Sharps Commercial last March has ensured the enlarged business has been involved in some form in 80 per cent of the transactions in the area.

Speaking in the report, Alec White, equity partner and head of commercial agency, said: “Sharps Commercial’s merger went incredibly smoothly.

“The additional resources and services the Haslams team provide has already proven to be of great benefit, on which we will build in 2024.”

Image shows Neil Seager (left) with Alec White.

For a copy of the report email NeilSeager@haslams.co.uk

© Thames Tap (powered by ukpropertyforums.com).

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