London’s Industrial Estate Shortage Solutions

Even if in the region of 7,000 hectares, industrial estate land in London is in decline. What is the answer to this?


Over the period 2010-2015 for example, the Capital’s stock of industrial land fell by over 500 hectares, with a significant release of land coming from Strategic Industrial Locations despite the fact those had in the past received a strong measure of protection.

Across the UK it’s the same story, with many regions starved of supply of industrial land. Whilst slow planning processes have had something of an impact, it is the gradual loss of industrial land to other uses, such as residential, that has had the greatest effect.

London is a prime example of this ‘industrial land grab’. With the Capital’s population expected to grow from 8.9 million to 10 million by 2031 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), it is London’s industrial land that is being sacrificed. Over the past decade, industrial land in London has diminished by approximately 100 hectares per year.

Demand however for industrial estates in London has risen steeply, especially in the distribution and logistics sector which is fuelling demand for industrial estates London wide. The increase in online shopping and home and workplace deliveries has put a considerable strain on the logistics supply chain, energising rental growth and leading to demand outstripping supply.

What is the answer to the industrial estate land shortage?

Industrial and logistics developers are turning creative when it comes to meeting demand, and there are two emerging potential solutions to the industrial estate shortage in London that are being seriously considered. Let’s take a look at them.

Solution 1: Multi-storey industrial units

Instead of building out, the trend to build up may soon be commonplace as a solution to the industrial estate shortage in London.

There is currently only one multi-storey industrial unit in the UK, but the concept is strong in Munich and Paris and industrial agency experts feel that it is only a matter of time before the blueprint is widely adopted throughout the UK.

Solution 2: Co-location

With much of the pressure on industrial land emanating from residential development, the potential for mixed-use residential environments is under serious consideration.

Whilst historically the market has approached industrial estate combined with residential development with scepticism, the fact is that innovative solutions like this are in high demand. Industrial-residential development rests on intelligent access planning to ensure that residential use does not conflict with commercial traffic. In east London, Poplar Business Park is a good example of a current development of this nature that is working well, with light industrial premises occupying the ground floor beneath residential towers.

The ‘sheds and beds’ idea of people living next door to an industrial park in London may seem somewhat peculiar, but the concept is proving popular, especially in locations like the Capital where industrial land is scarce and the population is growing. Strategies such as noise-restricting glass fitted to homes nearest to warehousing and the busiest industrial estates in order to reduce any potential noise pollution, together with rows of planted trees to effectively separate the two building types, all help to make the idea of co-location a lot more palatable.

Builder’s merchant Travis Perkins has already partnered with student accommodation providers such as Unite Group to develop units above some of its central London sites, and it is intending to extend the concept throughout more of its estate. Industrial agency specialists say that multi-storey and mixed-use industrial schemes are all becoming real possibilities with many in the stages of pre-planning, planning or development.

Find an industrial estate in London with help from Dohertybaines

If you are seeking industrial estate land in London or the Home Counties that is specifically suited to your individual operation, whether that’s distribution and logistics, manufacturing, transport, utilities or waste or service activities, talk to Dohertybaines. Our experts offer in-depth expertise across all aspects of industrial property and commercial warehousing. For the advice you need, contact our team.

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