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Agents report the ‘NDR effect’ as demand grows for sites north of city

PUBLISHED: 07:07 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:38 09 November 2018

From left, Cameron Barlow and Joe Yexley of Birketts, James Allen and Graham Jones, of Roche, and Wayne Neale, Phil Hall, and Tim Goram-Smith of BDO. Picture: Birketts.

From left, Cameron Barlow and Joe Yexley of Birketts, James Allen and Graham Jones, of Roche, and Wayne Neale, Phil Hall, and Tim Goram-Smith of BDO. Picture: Birketts.

Archant

The completion of Norwich’s Northern Distributor Road has already led to a surge in interest from businesses keen to take premises north of the city.

Property agents Roche Chartered Surveyors said warehousing and logistics firms were increasingly willing to consider industrial sites in the city’s northern suburbs given the improved transport links provided by the road, now known as the Broadland Northway. Previously, such areas had been primarily of interest to companies distributing to the north of the county, Graham Jones of the firm told a breakfast meeting of property professionals on Thursday.

“We are seeing that the opening of the NDR is focusing some people’s minds about where they want to be in Norwich – it’s not all about the south any more,” he said. “In the past in warehousing and logistics the north side of the city was mainly for those serving north Norfolk because congestion was such a limiting factor.

“But since the NDR has opened we’ve seen lots who had been interested in the west or the south now showing an interest.

“We may now see the kind of development in the north that we haven’t seen since the 1970s.”

Mr Jones said there were many companies in units too small for them, “frustrated” at the shortage of space for them to grow into.

He added: “For the last 10 years they’ve been unwilling to pay those premium prices but if they are paying £4-5 a square foot for their current premises, and it might go up to £6-7 [in their next rent review], they might now be thinking that for £8 a square foot they could have new purpose-built premises.”

Mr Jones was speaking after the annual property seminar hosted by law firm Birketts, accountants BDO and property agents Roche Chartered Surveyors at Norwich City’s Carrow Road. Guests at the event heard that demand for office space in the Norwich market remained high, exacerbated by a diminishing overall stock.

The city’s stock of 4.5m sq ft of office space had fallen by 850,000 sq ft in the past six years, with more than 25 buildings being converted to residential, student and education uses, said Roche’s James Allen. He added that availability of office space stood at 255,000 sq ft in July, with around 150,000 sq ft currently required, particularly in units of less than 10,000 sq ft to accommodate growing businesses such as those in the city’s tech sector.

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