Top News From The Week – HS2, Brexit and More!

Warehousing – Suffolk scheme gets funding

Blackacres is to develop a 27-acre business and logistics park in Suffolk with a further land extension which could provide up to 1.5 million sq ft of business and logistics space.

The developer has secured a £10.6 million refinancing loan from real estate lender and investor Octopus Real Estate, to transform an industrial site in Great Blakenham near Ipswich.

Good news for the area and a positive sign for the market.

The site itself is split into two plots – one to develop two large distribution units, while the other will provide further industrial space

Offices – London average rents up

The average prime rent for 2019 settled at £80.74/sq ft, up on 2018 by 3.8% and the highest annual figure on record.

However, take up in the City was down 13% on 2018 but up on the 10-year annual average by 5%. Read the full report here.

Similarly, the average Grade A rent for 2019 settled at £64.76/sq ft, up on 2018 by 4.8% and also the highest annual figure on record

Warehousing – mezzanine floors cause controversy

Cannock Chase District Council will have to repay Amazon in the region of £3m and has warned this will “severely deplete” its funds.

The authority said business rates on the site in Staffordshire were revised after Amazon argued its mezzanine floors did not count as floor space.

While financial details are still to be ironed out, it expects to repay Amazon about £3.2m overall, with the refund back-dated to the 2011 opening of the site in Rugeley.

Will we see more businesses appealing their rates following this case and a demand for mezzanines?

Council estimates also suggest Amazon’s ongoing liability will reduce from £1.7m to £1.25m annually, following the revaluation.

Retail – Wickes going it alone

Wickes has said it achieved “a strong sales performance” during the fourth quarter of 2019 as owner Travis Perkins preps demerger.

Wickes Chief Executive David Wood said, “We are looking forward to our future as a standalone business, building towards our vision of a Wickes project in every home, allowing us to create long-term value for all our stakeholders.”

Will this stunt expansion or give them more flexibility? More details will follow after the capital day for the group.

Confident strategy of a uniquely balanced business with a low cost and efficient operating model.

Financial – interest rates held

The Bank of England has held interest rates at 0.75% amid early signs of a pick-up in the UK and global economies.

Mark Carney told a new conference fewer companies in the UK are worried about Brexit and added that survey data suggested UK growth will improve.

We’re still predicting a rise in November.

“The most recent signs are that global growth has stabilised”

Brexit – today’s the day!

It’s official the UK formally leaves the European Union (EU) at 23:00 on Friday, 31 January and will immediately enter an 11-month transition period.

The BBC has complied a list of seven things that will change and seven things that won’t here .

Blue passports will be making a return

Infrastructure – Chancellor backs HS2

Sajid Javid has thrown his support behind HS2 as he’s expected to tell the PM he supports the controversial London to Birmingham rail link after studying Treasury analysis of its impact.

A leaked report has suggested the project could cost almost double the official 2015 estimate of £56bn. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the HS2 decision would come next month.

Senior government figures had suggested that cancelling the project at this stage would be a “credibility issue”