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Council supports resubmitted warehouse plans

10 July 2024

West Berkshire Council’s economic development team are supporting developer Panattoni’s resubmitted proposals for a warehouse development in Theale just off Junction 12 of the M4 motorway.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

ORIGINAL PLANS for a three unit industrial and logistics scheme submitted in 2020 and a further  proposals for a 200,000 ft2 scheme on the 13.4 acre site just off Hoad Way submitted in 2021 have given way to a 103,814 ft2 two-unit scheme out forward in January this year.

The revised plan also reconsidered the developer approach to highways, conservation, landscaping, and trees.

The 9.75 million construction phase is anticipated to generate around 45 full-time equivalent (FTE) construction jobs and once operational the scheme is expected to  support 150 FTE jobs on-site generating £11.8 million in annual GVA for the South East economy, with £9 million benefiting West Berkshire with the transport and storage industries accounting for the majority of the GVA contribution.. 

A letter from the Council’s Economic Development Team noted: “Additionally, the development will result in an estimated annual uplift of £500,000 in business rate payments, of which £250,000 will be retained by West Berkshire Council, thereby aiding local public services.

“Overall, the project promises significant long-term economic benefits, including job creation, enhanced productivity, and increased business rate revenue for the local and regional economies.”

In terms of supporting industrial and logistics demand for space in the area the Economic Development Team wrote: “Recent evidence from the Employment Land Review Update (ELR) highlights a significant residual requirement for industrial and warehousing space, with a gross demand of 167,548 sq m (1.8 million ft2) for the period 2022–2041. The proposed 9,600 sq m (103,333.5 ft2) development in Theale would account for 5.73% of the district's total demand and would make up 9.26% of the total net floorspace requirements over the ELR period. This development would make a considerable contribution to meeting this demand and would help address the identified shortage of suitable employment sites impacting the transport and storage industry within the district.

The Employment Land Review Update states: “The Submission Plan identified a need for 91,109 sq m (980,689.11 ft2) GIA over the 2022-39 period. This was on the basis of the past trends approach to calculating economic need. Rolling the period forward two years on the same basis increases the need for industrial floorspace in rounded terms to 104,000 sq m (1,119,446.68 ft2)GIA or 26 ha (64.25 acres) over the 2022-41 plan period.”

“This shortage of employment land has had a substantial impact on the transport and storage industry, which is vital for the region's economic prosperity. The proposed development addresses this shortfall by providing much-needed space for logistics operators, thereby enhancing the region’s capacity to attract and retain businesses in this sector.”

The only issue the Economic development team had was that fact that the local planning policy relating to this site preferred office development. However, the Economic development team has come out in support of the scheme: “After taking into consideration the economic benefits to employment, GVA, addressing the shortfall in employment space, the sustainable location of the site, and increased expenditure generated within the district. The Economic Development Team would like to offer our support for the proposal, as we believe these benefits outweigh the issues raised in the location and type of business development section.”