A combination of excellent manufacturing capabilities, strong academic research and development, and support from emerging technology companies means Kettering is centrally placed as a centre for business location and expansion says commercial property agent Prop-Search. Its vision for growth has three main principles - supporting new housing, jobs and infrastructure; developing the town centre; and providing a more skilled workforce through a better education offer.
The area has an industrial manufacturing heritage with employers including Weetabix, Alpro, Sealed Air and Timsons, and is well placed to serve as a distribution hub with companies including Morrisons, Wincanton for Argos and Knights of Old already in occupation.
There are ambitious plans to unlock the east of the borough which would generate an estimated £1.3 billion of economic activity through housing, jobs and infrastructure. As part of this, a £100 million low carbon energy park that will meet the future power needs of the town is already underway. The 1,100 acre park on land to the east of Burton Latimer will combine wind, solar, biomass and anaerobic digestion facilities. First Renewables, the firm behind the park, say that the scheme will meet Kettering’s current power needs as well as offsetting the future 5,500 home Kettering East extension.
East Kettering is a major sustainable urban extension which received planning permission in 2010. The scheme, set over 800 acres, comprises 5,500 new homes, over 1 million sq ft of commercial, health and leisure space, together with significant amenity and community space. Construction of infrastructure at Kettering East is due to commence in October this year. The first phases of the residential element will also commence in October and completion of a primary school is due in July 2015.
Complementing the Kettering East scheme is Roxhill’s development of a 90 acre site, adjacent to Latimer Business Park where occupiers include Morrisons, Weetabix and Argos. The site - known as the Junction 10 Business Park - is identified by the North Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit has an area fit for development for employment use and is master planned as a high quality mixed use B1 (business), B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage and distribution) scheme. The site could accommodate buildings from 10,000 sq ft to 150,000 sq ft, creating approximately 3,000 new jobs and has now received planning consent from Kettering Borough Council.
Another site with outline planning consent for 400,000 sq ft of B2 (industrial), B8 (storage and distribution) and C1 (hotels) uses is Cransley Park - formerly known as Cohen’s Scrap Yard - adjacent to Junction 8 of the A14. The 32 acre site has been fully serviced, and has been prepared for immediate development. The owner of the land, the St Francis Group, will shortly begin a national marketing campaign to launch the site to the market.
Northamptonshire Police has announced plans to purchase additional land on the North Kettering Business Park alongside land earmarked for a new custody and investigation centre. The additional 3.7 acres will allow for further development of the force’s estate to house a new headquarters. Planning permission for the Police Investigation Centre was granted in February this year and the purchase of the 2.4 acre site agreed in March. The design of the centre is currently under review to take account of current best practice in custody provision.
As Kettering has the largest town centre in North Northamptonshire, its aim is to maintain the position of the town in the retail hierarchy, through an improved shopping centre with a greater range of retailers. There is also emphasis on improving the public realm through the town and improving services to residents and visitors within a leisure quarter.
The discount supermarket Aldi is reportedly proposing to open its second store in Kettering. It is thought to be submitting a planning application for a new facility on Stanier Retail Park, Northfield Avenue, joining occupiers including Dunelm Mill and McDonalds, and complementing its existing offer on Carina Road.
Earlier this year, a new 5,000 sq ft convenience store was opened by Midlands Co-operative on the site of a redundant petrol filling station on London Road. The store forms part of a £2 million investment by developer Redleaf, with Corals Bookmakers also taking a unit on the site.
Throughout all office and industrial market sectors the availability of Grade ‘A’ existing built stock remains very constrained. As such a lack of opportunities immediately available is constraining the ability of existing occupiers to expand and to attract new employees to the town. It is imperative that everything is done to make sure consented development land is serviced and made ‘oven ready’ to be immediately available for development.
In the town’s masterplan, priority is placed on new office development alongside the rail station as a strategic location for employment growth. The Station Quarter comprises of 12 development sites and Kettering Borough Council is working with partners such as Network Rail to develop and attract investors to bring forward this project. The pursuit in finding development partners for increasing high grade office space is part of the town’s plan in attracting higher grade, higher density jobs. The development within the Station Quarter will deliver a hotel; a multi-modal transport interchange; multi-storey car parking; and approximately 350,000 sq ft of offices with supporting complementary uses such a newsagent, café.
Kettering is set to become even better connected as plans to improve the A43 are announced. Northamptonshire Country Council is planning to build a 10 mile stretch of dual-carriageway linking Northampton and Kettering to ease congestion on the road, which carries about 20,000 vehicles each day. The project will be delivered in a series of phases and assist in the delivery of further new homes and employment land.
Further information or advice can be obtained from Prop-Search - Tel: 01604 492000 / 01933 223300 or its website: www.prop-search.com