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Another new logistics scheme for Basingstoke

17 November 2023

An application for 1 million ft2 plus logistics scheme at Junction 5 of the M3 motorway on the edge of Basingstoke has been submitted, just weeks after Newlands Development announced it would be pursuing a development options for its controversial scheme just two  motorway junctions on at Junction 7.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

THIS MEANS that Basingstoke is in effect sandwiched between two one million ft2 industrial and logistics schemes.

However, while the Newlands scheme - as reported in Logistics Matters in October – sits within Basingstoke & Dean planning authority, the new scheme comes within the environs of Hart Council, the adjacent planning authority.

Strategic development company Obsidian has submitted outline proposals for a 1.13 million ft2 development on an 80 acre site at Lodge Farm. The scheme  envisages up to five warehouses from 80,000 to 320,000 ft2 with two storey ancillary offices.

The site is not designated within the council’s local plan but the promoter has said: “The development would make a significant contribution toward the ambitious employment targets set out in the Hart Local Plan, and would help meet an identified and unmet need.”

At present the Hart Local Plan, adopted in 2020, concludes that there is sufficient employment land over the plan period based on evidence and analysis from the Joint Employment Land Review (2016). However, research by Savills, commissioned by Obsidian, points out that this is outdated and there is a requirement for a further 309 acres of employment land required to satisfy supressed demand for space.

The report noted that the JELR is now seven years old, which in itself means it is out of date, given the NPPF’s requirement for Local Plan policies to be updated every five years. This is particularly so given that the JELR was based on data from 2004-2014. “Furthermore, the degree to which the industrial and warehousing sector has changed since 2016, notably during the Covid pandemic, means that any report drafted so long ago cannot be considered up to date. There is a need, therefore, for an updated assessment of the employment evidence base, particularly with regard to industrial and logistics. 

With regards to local need for space the report indicated that as well as being out of date the data used to make its demand prediction ‘does not have regard to market data that would better reflect the true level of need for I&L floorspace. It’s forecasts of need are based upon previous take-up of I&L space, but this does not account for past take-up being constrained by insufficient supply. In other words, insufficient supply leads to low levels of occupation which the JELR then assumes to be the required level of need’.

This methodology artificially supresses actual level of need.

The M3 corridor is a key artery for the movement of freight and Hart district is ideally located between London and the Solent ports to accommodate the logistics warehousing space to service this movement. Despite this, Hart lags behind other authority areas in the same Functional Economic Area (FEA) in terms of providing suitable floorspace for this sector. Only 8% of Hart’s I&L stock is well-related to the M3 (i.e. within 1km of it) versus 44% in Rushmore and 48% in Surrey Heath. 

Savills’ estimate that there is demand for 363 acres of industrial and logistics space in the FEA over the 18-year plan period. Supply in the FEA is approximately 54 acres. The shortfall is therefore 309-acres. 

There are currently no appointed agents on the site.