Commercial property

Commercial property news from Swindon and Wiltshire.

Commercial property market looks cheerier, says new report

Written by Peter Davison.

Station Square SwindonThings are looking cheerier in Swindon's commercial property market, according to chartered surveyor Kilpatrick & Co.

The company, which contributes to the national RICS Commercial Property Market Survey, says there are “tentative signs of improved activity and optimism” locally.

The RICS Commercial Property Market Survey for the second quarter reports an improvement in the occupier market across the UK, with total floorspace on agents' books falling for the first time in six years, albeit marginally.

The RICS Property Renal Expectations Index has turned positive for the first time since 2007, with the industrial and distribution market performing strongly, and the office market remaining stable. Retail property continues to be the weakest sector.

Andrew Kilpatrick said: “At last there are tentative signs of improved activity and optimism in Swindon's commercial property market, helped by the news of one of the biggest town centre office lettings since the recession, with 15,239 sq ft at Station Square being let to PrePay Solutions. 

In the retail sector there is the prospect of Waitrose coming to Whichelstow, M&S Simply Food to Mannington, Morrisions to Dorcan Way and Regent Circus, and an expansion of the Outlet Centre.”

Work starts of Phase 2 of £35m business park

Written by Peter Davison.

Work has started on Phase 2 of the £35m Castledown Business Park scheme in Ludgershall.

Paul Johnson, chairman of the Wiltshire and Swindon Local Enterprise Partnership (pictured left) and Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott were on hand to help contractors from St Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, cut the first turf on Wednesday.

St Modwen, the developer of the 33 acre employment site, which is owned by Wiltshire Council,will deliver Brydges Court, 33,650 sq ft of new accommodation in 15 units designed for office, storage and industrial use, on behalf of the council.

The units, which range from 700 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft will be available to purchase or rent through Alder King, and will be ready for occupation during January 2014. 

It follows the successful fully let first phase, Fitz Gilbert Court, a 21 unit scheme comprising 27,500 sq ft which was completed by St Modwen in 2008. 

Wiltshire Council own and manage Fitz Gilbert Court, which includes Castledown Business Centre and the new Castledown Enterprise Centre.

In March 2013, the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) awarded Wiltshire Council an interest free loan of £2,535,000 from the Growing Places Infrastructure Fund to bring Phase 2 forward.

The funding has been offered to bring forward development of the site to allow businesses in phase one to expand, freeing up space for new start up companies.

Peter Davies, development manager for St Modwen, said: “On the back of the successful first phase of development, we’re delighted to be working with the council to deliver a larger second phase that will help drive jobs and business opportunities in the area. 

“The next units will offer existing companies room to remain on site and grow, whilst also offering flexible accommodation for new occupiers seeking a strategically located business environment.

“We are also continuing to market the remaining 20 acres at Castledown Business Park where buildings can be delivered to meet occupier requirements to purchase or rent.” 

Clrr Scott, said: “I’m delighted we have reached the next phase of this project.We are committed to supporting new and existing local businesses, and with the new facilities and set-up at the business park, it gives them the best opportunity to grow.” 

Mr Johnson said: “Phase 2 of the development at Castledown represents an exciting investment for the Growing Places Infrastructure Fund.

“It will not only provide incubation space but also space for businesses to grow into, supporting economic growth in the area. We're delighted to be a part of the project.”

Estate agent turns office into mini art gallery

Written by Peter Davison.

Mark Somerville Edward HallThe Marlborough office of estate agent Smiths Gore has become a mini art gallery, after professional local artists were invited to display their work on the office walls.

Professional photographer Mark Somerville is the first artist to have his work displayed at the office.

Mark's rolling landscapes will be a feature of Smiths Gore for the next four months.

The two examples of his work in the gallery demonstrate the use of imagery captured in camera to provoke a response and connect the viewer to the subject.

“A pretty picture is all well and good”, he says, “but I try to convey the impact the image had on my senses when I first framed it up.

“The moment is preserved with all its detail, drama and subtleties intact. For me, it’s all about sharing that emotion with the viewer.”

Smiths Gore is representing Mark during Marlborough Open Studios' Windows on Art season, which runs throughout July, and sees the town centre turned into an art gallery as shops and offices display painting, photographs, sketches and sculptures by professional and semi-professional artists.

Edward Hall, head of the agency, said: ““We welcome the public to come in and see our mini-gallery, enjoy a cup of coffee and have a chat. If we can help with their property needs, so much the better.”

Agent helps Swindon NFU celebrate 100 years

Written by Peter Davison.

Richard Nocton of Woolley & WallisMarlborough estate agent Woolley & Wallis has helped the Swindon branch of the National Farmers Union celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Land and estate agent Richard Nocton was joined by Peter Kendall, president of the NFU, who spoke passionately and forcefully about the British public wanting to buy food from a trustworthy source and that was best provided by British farmers and growers.

Group Secretary Nick Bent hosted the evening which was attended by over 75 people including numerous past presidents of the branch.

Woolley & Wallis are panel members of NFU Professional and any NFU member referred through the scheme is entitled to a fee discount.

Freehold pub with Saxon roots goes on market

Written by Peter Davison.

The King's Arms, CalneA pub whose cellar was once the cell of a pagan anchorite, who attracted pilgrims from all over Saxon England, has gone on the market with a guide price of £399,000.

The King's Arms in High Street, Calne has a fascinating history.

Formerly the Borough Arms, it was renamed in the 1830s after two Cavaliers who hid at the inn following the Battle of Worcester almost 200 years earlier.

And details of the Hop and Eclipse coaches to London and Bath can still be seen painted on the archway.

Now popular with ramblers, cyclists, horse riders and bikers, the Grade II Listed inn in a prominent high street location on the periphery of a high-footfall, pedestrianised area.

The two-storey property has open fireplaces and other features of character. Offering approximately 68 covers throughout and a commercial kitchen, the pub – says specialist property advisor Christie + Co - still has untapped potential.

Valerie Turner, of Christie + Co in Bristol said: “The Kings Arms offers a vast amount of potential for a hands-on operator or managed house.

“The pub has, historically, been subject to rent and barrel ties. Therefore, the freehold opportunity allows the business to achieve its true potential in this strong location.”

For more information, log on to www.christie.com

Chamber discusses lack of development land

Written by Peter Davison.

Herman Miller ChippenhamThe lack of business development land in Wiltshire is the thorny subject being tackled by Wessex Chambers at its monthly business breakfast on Friday, June 28.

Guest speaker Graham Dean, director of UK operations at office furniture giant Herman Miller, will be speaking on the subject of The Challenges of Finding Suitable Space to Grow in Wiltshire.

In January the firm submitted a planning application to Wiltshire Council for permission to build a 17,000 sq m facility at the Bowerhill Industrial Estate in Melksham.

The new HQ would see the amalgamation of its manufacturing base in Bath with its logistics and product design team, who are currently based at Methuen Park in Chippenham.

The company said it was forced to relocate to Melksham after it was unable to find space in Chippenham to expand.

Chippenham Chamber of Commerce has called on Wiltshire Council to identify more business development land in the town.

The business breakfast will be held at Cumberwell Park Golf Club, Bradford on Avon from 7.30am. Attendance costs £12 for members and those attending their first Chamber event, and £40 for non-members.

For more information, or to book a place, log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk/events

Rigging specialist moves to landlocked Wiltshire

Written by Peter Davison.

Woodford Centre, SalisburyAn international specialist in composite rigging manufacture and innovation to the yachting world has moved into new premises in landlocked Wiltshire.

The unit at the Woodford Centre, Old Sarum, Salisbury was let to Future Fibres Innovations Ltd by commercial agent Myddelton & Major on behalf of the landlord.