A surge in cross-sector business confidence is helping to put three East Midlands counties back on track, according to a new report. Buoyed by signs of revival over the past 12 months, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire are all reporting multi-million pound investments and increased construction activity, claims agent Innes England’s Market InSite report.
“The property sector has experienced another challenging year, but the signs of revival are clear to see,” said managing director, Robert Hartley. “A series of major schemes announced in 2012 are well underway and are set to give the region a boost this year.”
Echoing the long-awaited 2013 upturn of the economy, he said just about every sector was reporting advances. “The number of significant deals being done in the East Midlands is indicative of the mood across the entire country. Industrial and distribution was the star of the show, but everything from retail to the office market exhibited signs of revival,” Hartley added.
In Nottinghamshire, where office and industrial confidence suffered particularly badly during the credit crunch, improvements to transport links are expected to prime the recovery still further. Hundreds of millions of pounds of public money has been spent expanding Nottingham’s tram network, improving the railway station and widening the A453. All of which, says the report, will help “ramp up development activity”.
Confidence is also returning to the county’s retail and leisure sectors. “Nottingham City Council’s pledge to put £50m towards the redevelopment of Broadmarsh shopping centre was a very encouraging statement of intent,” said Matthew Hannah, the firm’s director of retail and roadside property work.
“As we progress through 2014, with the completion of several major infrastructure projects and investment in the retail sector, I think we can be confident that the city will be well placed to take advantage of improving market conditions,” he said.
In neighbouring Derbyshire the growing confidence is reflected by the increasing number of businesses moving into new and larger premises. The InSite report shows a 250 per cent increase in the take-up of industrial space, a jump from 400,000sq ft in 2012 to almost 1.5m sq ft last year — the highest new occupancy in a decade.
Other highlights across the county include Severn Trent Water moving its headquarters to the former Egg building on Pride Park, Derby, and progress with major regeneration projects such as Castleward, Full Street, Sadler Bridge Studios, Duckworth Square, and the Infinity Business Park project which is expected to create at least 8,000 jobs.
There is a note of caution. Innes England warns that demand for East Midland premises from industrial businesses was being seriously held back through a lack of good quality buildings, with tenants forced to look at older property — “Yet again, the lack of supply of Grade A space across the commercial and industrial sectors throughout the region creates cause for concern. The market remains flooded by poor quality second-hand space, which limits activity in the area.”
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