What makes a great trade park?

Rory Finnan Director, Head of Asset Management
020 7657 1856
Read time: 4 mins
Category: Place
George Dickens Development Director
020 7657 1853
Read time: 4 mins
Category: Place

A significant amount of research is produced on the UK industrial and logistics market, however very little focuses on trade parks in particular as these are relatively new phenomena.

The trade counter market is a sector in itself and trade parks often include wider uses such as self-storage, car showrooms, drive thrus, builders’ merchants, in addition to traditional trade counter operators.

Here, Chancerygate’s head of asset management, Rory Finnan, and development director, George Dickens, explain what makes a successful trade park development, specifying four main criteria for success.

  1. Location and prominence

Location and prominence are the most important factors in creating a successful trade park. A trade park needs to be located on, or adjacent to, a busy road and be easily accessible from it.

Attracting passing traffic is a major contributor to a trade counter operator’s turnover. Visibility from a main road and prominence are key to the occupier’s decision making, especially when entering new geographical locations.

One way to measure a location’s suitability is through measuring daily vehicle movements. It is essential that occupiers know how many vehicles pass the site every day, and how many customers they can reach from that location within a certain timeframe.

Our Bourges View development in Peterborough is a very good example. It is situated next to an out-of-town retail park anchored by a major DIY store, has good access and also visibility from one of the city’s main arterial routes with 19,000 vehicle movements per day. This has attracted household names for self-storage, drive thru and trade counter uses.

  1. Clustering effect

Trade counter operators, car showrooms, builders’ merchants and drive thrus all like being located within proximity to one another, as their uses are complimentary in attracting the same customer base.

Often developments are created by securing ‘anchor tenants’ such as a builders’ merchants. For example, at our East Place development in Harlow, a pre-let to Travis Perkins was secured.

The four speculatively built trade counter units located adjacent were subsequently let to national trade counter operators who were attracted by the opportunity to be located in proximity to Travis Perkin, benefiting from passing trade.

Operators want to be located either in established trade destinations or within a new scheme which they have confidence will become a ‘cluster’ of mutually beneficial operators benefitting from the increased footfall and traffic they create.

  1. Design and specification

Understanding occupier requirements is key when designing a trade counter estate. As a rule of thumb, car showrooms, builders’ merchants and drive thrus, occupiers require bespoke units and will commit to the scheme at the design stage.

More generic trade counter units, however, are speculatively built, and unit size and specification must be correct to attract occupiers.

Typically, most trade counter occupiers require units of between 3,000 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft. Operators also prefer no mezzanines to be constructed and require more glazing on the front elevation than traditional industrial and warehouse units to create a showroom feel. The loading door must be separate to the customer entrance and customer parking is required immediately to the front of the unit.

Trade counter operators can generally operate under a B8 consent. However, some local authorities may limit the amount of floor space that can be used for quasi-retail space.

  1. Sustainability and running costs

Sustainability and running costs are more important now than ever before to both occupiers and the investor community. A modern trade park needs to meet or surpass required ESG credentials.

Units must be designed to help minimise running costs. Many details, even seemingly small ones, can help occupiers reduce energy usage and spend.

At Chancerygate, we are at the forefront of designing our schemes with sustainability at the centre of our design criteria. These include:

  • PV panels to all units over 15,000 sq ft
  • Electricity-powered air source heat pumps
  • Improved insulation levels through use of high quality, and insulated cladding and roofing
  • Electric vehicle charging points to at least 20% of car parking spaces and ducts for future vehicle charging points to remaining vehicle spaces
  • 15% rooflights by area of the warehouse, increasing natural daylight and reducing need for artificial lighting
  • Improving biodiversity (e.g. bird boxes, bat boxes, log piles, water features, better landscaping mix)
  • Trees and landscaping including local species of plants and no non-native species
  • Cycle shelters and hoops

Overall, the design of the trade park should be sustainable and future-proof, helping to keep energy costs and usage to a minimum.

The criteria for a great trade park

A successful trade park is a driven by all four of the above factors – location, design, tenant mix and maximising ‘green’ credentials.

At Chancerygate, we have extensive experience in combining these factors to deliver successful trade park developments.

Recent examples include East Place, Harlow, Chelmsford Trade Park, Livingston Trade Park and Festival Trade Park, Cheltenham.

Our expertise is evidenced through the testimonials we have received. Philip MacLauchlan, managing director of Adept Consultancy, said: “Chancerygate have a market leading reputation for delivering high-quality, user-friendly trade units across the country.”

For more information on our upcoming trade park developments, get in touch with George Dickens on e: gdickens@chancerygate.com or t: 07767 254 234. To find out more about our portfolio of assets, speak with Rory Finnan on e: rfinnan@chancerygate.com or t: 07974 005 753. 

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