It truly is the most wonderful time of the year as we have received news that two significant industrial and logistics schemes have secured planning approval within the last week. Both the Lakeside Retail Park development project and the Uplands in Walthamstow development project look set to start 2024 on a very positive note for the UK construction industry.
Lakeside Retail Park
British Land has received permission to demolish part of the existing Lakeside Retail Park and replace it with a 15-acre warehouse in a project with an order book value of £200M. This particular retail park in Essex has long suffered from vacancies resulting from a localised retail oversupply, and it is anticipated that this development project will create 700 new jobs and revitalise the area.
The shops in the affected area will be offered the opportunity to take on vacant premises elsewhere on the site, allowing the logistics development to proceed in an ambitious regeneration project which will refresh the industrial landscape of the area, generate public interest and deliver a much-needed boost to the local economy.
Uplands in Walthamstow
The Uplands Business Park is a 12 acre site in Waltham Forest, which is owned by BlackRock Real Assets. In conjunction with NEAT Developments, planning approval has been granted to redevelop the estate, creating a modern, stacked industrial facility which will also introduce up to 1800 new homes.
The plans for this site will retain existing businesses, increase local biodiversity, provide access to new green spaces and deliver a hybrid home and work environment in what is being dubbed a "15 minute neighbourhood". Located a mere 10 minutes walk from the nearest tube station and overlooking a thriving wetlands nature reserve, plans to establish new homes (35% of which will be affordable homes), jobs and leisure opportunities within easy commuting distance of the centre are very exciting.
In a bid to create an attractive and modern mixed use neighbourhood, NEAT Developments and BlackRock Real Assets intend to create new shops, cafes, a GP surgery and a creche to operate alongside the homes and industrial space, which will play a pivotal role in the future function of the site.
Not only is this exciting development promising to create a vibrant and attractive setting in which to live and work, but it will also deliver a 20% net gain in biodiversity and NEAT have pledged to recycle up to 95% of the building waste generated on site. This development will create up to 1000 new jobs once fully operational, with work set to commence in summer 2024.
Benefits of mixed use developments
Mixed use developments such as these are the future. They offer a range of benefits which are hard to overlook. By placing residents in close proximity to their working environment, the need for vehicular travel is almost eliminated, easing congestion and air pollution, creating a better work-life balance and increasing resident activity levels which can improve their long term health prospects.
These developments create a sense of community, allowing for easy social interaction and encouraging residents to experience frequent in-person contact with their neighbours, colleagues, friends and families. This creates a happy environment in which loneliness is diminished and a sense of well-being is fostered. This is amplified when healthcare providers such as GPs and hospitals are present within the development, enabling residents to seek appropriate healthcare from a local practitioner and easing waiting times.
Finally, mixed use developments have been proven to provide a much-needed financial boost to local economies. Indeed, the Lakeside Retail Park developers have determined that their project, once complete, will provide the local council with a £3M per annum boost in terms of business rates revenue while the cost savings achieved by residents at the Uplands Business Park through reduced commuting will likely translate into greater levels of discretionary spending at local retail outlets.
We at Build Space are very excited by the opportunities presented by these two projects. They will both be significant endeavours which will require the efforts of talented construction professionals from all backgrounds and specialities. We welcome applications from interested candidates and will do our utmost to support British Land and NEAT Developments to staff their projects from start to finish with the experienced and knowledgeable workforce that is necessary to deliver high calibre construction projects of this type.