Commercial property

Commercial property news from Swindon and Wiltshire.

New premises mark Withy King’s 30 year commitment to Marlborough

Written by Peter Davison.

Solicitors Lois Smith, Robert Collins, Samantha O’Sullivan and Sharon MacDonald outside Withy King’s new offices in The Parade, MarlboroughLaw firm Withy King is marking its 30th anniversary in Marlborough with a move to new premises in the heart of the market town.

Withy King will be moving from its current offices just off the high street to the last remaining ground floor premises available to rent in central Marlborough, located at Cross Keys House, The Parade – the building occupied by wealth management company Brewin Dolphin before its relocation to Marlborough Business Park.

Partner Robert Collins, who has worked in Marlborough for over 20 years, said: “We are very pleased to announce our continued commitment to Marlborough where we have been based for the past 30 years.

“The shortage of quality, ground floor office space was a cause for concern, but fortunately we’ve been able to secure the ideal premises and we look forward to showing people around.

“We are totally committed to Marlborough and we have a very well-established local client base, some of whom have remained loyal to us for as long as we have been in the town.

“We are proud to be able to offer a comprehensive range of services to businesses and private clients from our offices in Marlborough with the additional support and resources available from Withy King’s other bases located in Swindon, Bath and Oxford.”

The move comes at a time of growth for the firm, which has recently recruited Samantha O’Sullivan, a trusts and charities specialist with 25 years’ experience and Kim Thurston, a conveyancing specialist who will be supporting Withy King’s busy residential property team.

Commercial property agent sets up new firm

Written by Peter Davison.

Huw ThomasFrom a Victorian schoolhouse to an entire business park, there’s not a lot Wiltshire commercial property agent Huw Thomas hasn’t been asked to sell or let during 27 years in the business.

Familiar to many as a former president of Chippenham Chamber of Commerce, and a board member of the influential North Wilts Economic Partnership, Huw has formed his own company to offer a top quality service to landlords, tenants, and companies looking start up or relocate in Wiltshire.

Huw Thomas Commercial acts on behalf of landlords and tenants, marketing freehold and leasehold shops, offices, warehouses and industrial units.

He also helps commercial property-hunters in their search and acquisition of the right accommodation in the right location. In lease negotiations and rent reviews, he acts on behalf of landlords and tenants.

Huw’s books are filling fast, and he is already offering a range of industrial units, from 2,000 square feet in Chippenham to 100,000 square feet in Trowbridge.

He’s also been taken on to market the 46-acre Commerce Park just over the county border in Frome, which offers a mix of industrial, office and roadside accommodation.

Huw also markets development land, and is currently promoting two plots of an acre each in Westbury and a further two plots - one of 1.7 acres, the other of 2.3 acres - in Warminster. All of the sites have planning permission for industrial and warehouse use.

“One of the most interesting aspects of the job is being involved with the change from undeveloped land becoming a thriving commercial zone, like Marlborough Business Park, or Crusader Park in Warminster,” said Huw, who acted as marketing agent on both projects.

Huw started his career with Dreweatt Neate in Newbury, but most of his professional life was spent with King Sturge - later Jones Lang Lasalle.

His new business - which is based at Station Hill House in Chippenham - can be found online at http://huwthomascommercial.com and Huw can be contacted on 01249 704345 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Move into property for trainee lawyer Rachael

Written by Peter Davison.

Rachael James of Hoffman MaleTrainee conveyancer Rachael James has made the move to specialist property law firm Hoffman Male.

Rachael, 22, has joined the Swindon-based firm’s Bristol team, working alongside partner Yvette Morcombe.

Rachael has a law degree from Swansea University, where she also took her legal practice course before starting with Hoffman Male.

“I was looking for a career in property, as that area of law really interests me. There is a lot of variety and challenge in the role,” said Rachael.

“I am delighted to be starting with Hoffman Male and already really enjoying working with the team.”

Bristol Partner, Yvette Morcombe, said: “I am delighted that Rachael has joined us and at such an exciting time in the progress and development of the Bristol office.”

Hoffman Male, which specialises in wills and probate as well as conveyancing, is also looking for a trainee for its West Swindon head office at Windmill Hill.

Both positions have arisen thanks to an upturn in the property market, coupled with the Government’s Help to Buy and NewBuy schemes, which are fuelling sales of new homes.

For more details contact Mary Hoffman on 01793 538198, Yvette Morcombe on 01454 202134 or visit www.hoffmanmale.co.uk

Two new Enterprise Centres to open in early 2014

Written by Peter Davison.

Old Fire Station Enterprise Centre, SalisburyTwo new Enterprise Centres are to open in Wiltshire, thanks to £5.2m of government funding.

The Wiltshire Council-led Enterprise Network Initiative, which last year opened similar incubation centres in Trowbridge and Ludgershall, plans to open new centres at Wootton Bassett and Salisbury.

The Initiative is also offering free expert advice and grants to small businesses.

All the Enterprise Centres offer new, flexible and purpose-built office space and hot desk facilities designed specifically with micro businesses in mind and at affordable, all-inclusive rents.

Hot desks can be hired by the half day, and offices for between one and five people by the month, with easy-in, easy-out contracts. High speed broadband, communal networking areas and bookable meeting rooms complete the package.

In addition, The Enterprise Network offers free expert business advice through the Wiltshire Business Support Service and access to grants - available to any start-up or step-up business in Wiltshire and rural Swindon - as well as for all Enterprise Centre tenants.

Manor House Enterprise Centre, Royal Wootton BassettManor House Enterprise Centre, High Street, Royal Wootton Bassett will provide 19 offices on two floors offering 44 desks across a range of different sized offices, and free parking.

The Old Fire Station Enterprise Centre, Salt Lane, Salisbury will have seven ground floor offices with 16 seats and 12 first floor offices with 19 seats.

Since TEN launched, 22 people have been helped to start a new business, 61 existing businesses have received expert support and advice, 36 women-led enterprises have had support and more than 40 new jobs have been created across Wiltshire.

Kate Forrest, manager of The Enterprise Network, said: “We believe there’s never been a better time for Wiltshire people to start a new business, or grow an existing enterprise thanks to this brilliant combination of practical support, workspace and grants.

“We’re particularly keen to support military leavers and their dependents in Wiltshire to take their first steps to becoming their own bosses. There is help and support every step of the way for anyone keen to do business, from the first light-bulb idea.”

Fleur de Rhé-Philipe, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for economy, skills and transport said: “One of our top priorities is to boost the local economy and these new centres will provide fantastic support for emerging and existing businesses in Wiltshire.

Ensuring local businesses are given the opportunity to thrive is integral to boosting the local economy. We will continue to work with our partners on innovative projects like these so businesses have the support and resources they need to be successful.”

To find out more about workspace at TEN’s four Enterprise Centres across Wiltshire, free business advice or grants, or hire of meeting rooms, call 01264 848311 or visit www.enterprisewiltshire.co.uk/projects/The-Enterprise-Network-TEN

World famous ‘croppie HQ’ The Barge Inn is back on the market

Written by Peter Davison.

The Barge Inn at Honeystreet, near PewseyThe world-famous Barge Inn at Honeystreet - the canal side pub taken over by its local community before closing due to insolvency - is on the market again.

Property investment company Portella Estates this week began the process of marketing of what it describes as the “world-famous canal side pub, campsite and popular meeting place for crop circle enthusiasts,” with a leasehold of £60,000 and annual rent of £48,000 per annum, with a beer and cider tie.

The price doesn’t include the one-acre campsite, which is available by separate negotiation, but the new leaseholders will get a dining room with 30 covers and a new dining extension which seats 26, a main bar, and the famous ‘crop circle room’ with its distinctive mural-decorated ceiling.

Living accommodation includes six bedrooms and a bathroom, and the attic winch room - according to the particulars - has potential for development.

A 10-year lease or three-five year tenancy options are available. The annual turnover is listed at £450,000.

The 200-year-old pub was run for 17 years by Adrian and June Potts, and when they retired in 2010 locals took over the pub to run as a community venture on a 20-year lease, helped by a £340,000 grant from the National Lottery’s Village SOS fund.

But by 2012 The Barge Inn Community Project were forced to call in the administrators. Marlborough News Online reported in February 2013 that the company’s debts ran to almost half a million pounds.

More recently - in December 2012 - the tenancy was taken over by Derren Heath and Amanda Swindell, who signed a five-year tenancy agreement.

Meanwhile, the pub continues to trade as normal, with Portella Estates keen to stress that it is a viable business proposition.

Office and industrial space in Swindon at a five year low

Written by Peter Davison.

James Gregory of Alder KingOffice and industrial space in Swindon is at a five year low as the economy bounces back, according to report by commercial property consultants Alder King.

The Market Monitor report suggests that in line with other large towns and cities in the South West, Swindon is experiencing a five year low in accommodation supply, meaning businesses looking to grow or relocate have nowhere to go.

The report shows that following a 2010 high for demand for office space (205,000 sq ft), demand plummeted to 85,000 sq ft in 2011. This has been gradually rising, and in 2013 was back to 199,000 sq ft.

However, over the same period supply began to fall - from 1,320,000 sq ft in 2011 to just 1,020,000 sq feet in 2013.

Meanwhile rents in the office sector have risen slightly from their 2011 low. Headline rent per sq ft is now £15 in the town centre, and £17.50 out of town, up from £16 per sq ft in 2012.

“There was a gradual reduction in good quality accommodation with no brand new office space currently available out of town, and no speculative development,” noted the report’s author, James Gregory.

In the industrial sector, meanwhile, supply fell from a 2011 peak of 2,625,000 sq ft to 1,800,000 sq ft. But demand also fell, from 1,823,000 sq ft in 2011 to 986,000 sq ft in 2013.

Rents stayed steady. For the fifth year in a row the average rent per sq ft was £6.75.

“There is now a real shortage of large buildings available for immediate occupation with the need to bring forward deliverable development becoming urgent,” noted James. “There are very few good quality opportunities for the mid-range occupier, and the supply of all sizes has steadily been eroded.”

The full report is available to download at http://www.alderking.com/media/121375/FINAL-Market-Monitor-2014-Web.pdf

Myddelton & Major named most active agent in Wiltshire

Written by Peter Davison.

Dean Speer, Julian Pepin, Jody Williams, Simon Lee, Philip HolfordCommercial property consultancy Myddelton & Major has received the respected accolade from Estates Gazette, the weekly ‘bible’ for the UK’s property sector.

The Salisbury-based specialist was named Most Active Agent in the county following a raft of office, retail and industrial deals over the past 12 months.

High-profile deals included the Vitacress letting at Minton Distribution Park at Amesbury, achieving full house at Salisbury Office Park and College Chambers in Salisbury and motor group Foray taking up at High Post Business Park midway between Salisbury and Amesbury.

Other major deals included the freehold sales of two large factories in Westbury to solvents recovery specialist Absolute Solvents and engineering firm Torishima (Europe) and new office lettings at The Crescent, part of the £250m mixed-use business park at Solstice Park, Amesbury.

More than 100 deals were completed by the team, covering 34,374 sq m (370,000 sq ft) of commercial space in Wiltshire - equivalent to four international soccer stadium pitches.

Philip Holford, a partner at Myddelton & Major’s 12-strong commercial property consultancy team, said: “This tremendous accolade from Estates Gazette, the weekly ‘bible’ for the UK’s property sector, is very much testament to the hard work put in by everyone at the team to consistently deliver for clients, often in challenging conditions caused by the global economic headwinds.

“Diligence and reliability are everything, underscored by a personal service.”

Dean Speer, a fellow partner, said: “Our clients, from retailers, offices and factory owners to property investors and international pension funds, rightly have high expectations – they understand and value our collective and individual experience and detailed knowledge of local markets, which translates into results.

“Wiltshire has a lot going for it to attract employers, from official figures citing above-average output per worker to high business start-up and survival rates, with a resident population of 455,000.

“These trends contribute to a low unemployment rate of 3.5 percent for Wiltshire, compared to six percent in the South West and 7.6 percent in England, with a number of job-creating developments in the pipeline.”

The agency team includes Simon Lee MRICS, who leads the retail sector for the firm acting for clients across central southern England on prime shops, and Julian Pepin MRICS, who joined in 2011. Jody Williams gives “invaluable back-up” as commercial agency administrator.

Clients from the retail, office and industrial sectors have gone on record to praise the commercial property team for a “professional and personable service”.

For example, the James Trust, for which the firm acts and manages a family portfolio of largely commercial properties in a relationship dating back 15 years, stated: “Their diligence and reliability are first-class.”

The James Trust added: “Myddelton & Major has managed some challenging rent reviews and re-lettings with skill and good sense. Their advice has been both cautious and astute – and well worth following.

“I can honestly recommend Myddelton & Major without reservation.”

The independent firm of chartered surveyors was established in High Street, Salisbury, in 1903 and provides advice on sales, lettings and acquisitions of commercial and residential property in central southern England.

It also manages a substantial portfolio of commercial property for private, corporate and institutional clients. In addition the company provides professional advice to landlords and tenants on rental reviews and lease renewals.

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