A planning application at one of the largest rail served distribution parks in the West Midlands could see almost 2,000 additional jobs created at Birch Coppice close to junction 10 of the M42 motorway north east of central Birmingham.
IM Properties has submitted plans to North Warwickshire Borough Council for a phase two master plan extension of 123 acres (49.9ha) at Birch Coppice Business Park capable of developing two million square feet of high quality B8 distribution and logistics space. Phase one of the award winning scheme is already home to distribution giants UPS and CEVA and in 2006 became the chosen location for Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal (BIFT). Subject to planning consent the second phase will be developed on part of the 400 acres (161ha) acquired from British Coal by IM Properties in 1997 along with the former Birch Coppice Colliery site.
According to Mike Eagleton of sole marketing agents Eagleton and Company the decision taken by IM Properties to commit a substantial investment in infrastructure works is market driven overlaid by a strong recommendation of the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) Phase Two Revision Report of the Panel.
Published in September 2009 the report addresses the region’s rail freight logistics capacity and constraints and identified the full potential for a further 98.8 acres (40ha) to complete Phases one and two at Birch Coppice as part of the RSS baseline.
“The content of this far reaching publication impacts on the region that is in danger of not being able to satisfy an emerging appetite for new distribution space from high street fashion and homewares retailers and top tier supermarkets and grocery chains. Despite recessionary clouds prevailing over the commercial property market in recent years, in excess of two million square feet of industrial space has been let in the region within the past six months in unit sizes over 200,000 sq ft (18,580 m sq). In addition the recent decision by Marks & Spencer to develop a 900,000 sq ft (83,610 sq m) distribution hub at Castle Donnington in the East Midlands signals the size band that developers need to address.” said Mike Eagleton.
National and local government bodies are now firmly supporting the development of regional logistics sites such as Birch Coppice with its on site inter-modal rail freight terminal which benefits not just the occupiers on the business park but also the local business community. The terminal acts as an inland port, shipping containerised freight to and from main UK ports.
North Warwickshire MP Mike O’ Brien has backed the expansion saying: “I supported the opening of Birch Coppice Business Park some years ago and am delighted by its success. It now employs more people than worked at the colliery. The prospect of large numbers of new jobs at Birch Coppice is a very important boost for this whole area. It will also reduce the need for local people to commute long distances out of the area”.
The submission of the phase two planning application follows on from the recent letting on the first phase of a 256,000 sq ft (23,782 sq m) distribution facility leaving just 10acres (4 ha) remaining to be developed.
Eagleton and Company Mike Eagleton Tel: 0121 236 1636 email: email@example.com