By Brent Forbes, partner at Petty Commercial Property.
In recent months I’ve used this column to look at some of the potential threats to the Lancashire economy that have arisen because of factors in the broader economy.
Whilst there’s some debate around Brexit’s potential opportunities, one thing that is clear is that a period of prolonged uncertainty isn’t helpful to business – and that has been compounded by the distraction of a general election and events since then.
We also face the likelihood of an interest rates rise in the coming months, which will have repercussions for commercial property, as well as business more generally – not to mention consumers!
On an optimistic note, at Petty Commercial, we’ve generally felt that these factors have yet to impact market confidence in Lancashire. We have a robust offer – our relatively low cost, great connectivity and legacy skills make the area an attractive proposition.
In addition, there is little available development space left adjacent to motorway junctions, so sites like Lomeshaye in Nelson and Burnley Bridge should capitalise on this opportunity; whilst at the west end of the M65 the Lancashire City Deal should see significant growth in Preston and South Ribble.
In the east of the county, commercial property in Pendle is holding up very well.
For most observers, the big story in Pendle over the last year has been the superb redevelopment of Brierfield Mills as the Northlight complex, a £32million project in which Pendle Council and Barnfield Construction partnered.
However, the borough is currently seeing demand outstrip supply, which is both forcing rent rises and seeing new build industrial units sell before they are even built.
Whilst this has restricted supply of commercial property adjacent to motorway junctions, the good news is that in towns like Nelson, there is still available and cheaper industrial and commercial property a little further afield.
And by further afield, I mean barely a five minute drive from a motorway junction and for as little as £3 per square foot what’s not to like?
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