Thriving manufacturing firms are being forced to compromise on premises and make do with refurbished second-hand units because of a lack of supply of new stock, according to DTZ.
Speaking at the Advanced Manufacturing Briefing organised by Place North West last week, co-hosted by Burnley Bondholders , DTZ industrial Tony O'Keefe cited two recent examples. Danish firm Icopal occupies a series of big sheds in Trafford Park, where it makes building products. The growing company needs a new production line to keep pace with expansion. However, due to a lack of available stock Icopal will rebuild its production line on site and has taken 90,000 sq ft at Stadium Point, owned by Manchester United FC, in the interim. Construction is due to begin in the autumn.
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Secondly, Holchem Laboratories, a cleaning products maker in Bury, has acquired the freehold on a 90,000 sq ft second-hand building in the M66 Trading Estate from Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund.
O'Keefe said the premises was one of the last freeholds available in the area and the site will need extensive fit-out. Arguably it would have been cheaper to get a new cleared site and build a new factory.
Manufacturing property deals are on the increase in the North West and across the UK but developers and landlords do not have sufficient supply to satisfy occupier needs, O'Keefe added.
Also speaking at the event were Steve Rumbelow, chief executive of Burnley Council, and Peter Sussex, consultant at the Manufacturing Institute.
Rumbelow outlined Burnley's credentials as a specialist manufacturing base with above-average productivity and skilled workers in the sector compared to the rest of the country.
The opening of the campus for the University of Central Lancashire and Burnley College in 2009, complete with a manufacturing production line, would help secure the town's manufacturing prospects for the future.
Burnley also has developments in the pipeline such as Eshton Group's 650,000 sq ft Burnley Bridge and the Knowledge Park next door to the UCLAN and college campus.
Sussex said the North West's manufacturing workforce was strong on a number of fronts from textiles, food and automotive to nuclear, wind farms and biomedical sectors.
The manufacturing industry is worth £20bn a year to the North West, employing 390,000 people, he added.
Around 100 people attended the breakfast event at the Midland hotel in Manchester. To view full presentations from the three keynote speakers click the link below.