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Developer and investor team up for Kent site

28 June 2024

Royal London Asset Management Property and logistics development specialist Scannell Properties have teamed up to deliver a 33-acre industrial and logistics scheme, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

THE SITE known as Kingstanding Business Park  covers 33-acres and was initially taken through the planning process by land agency BTF Partnership which secured outline consent for around 800,000 ft2 of office, industrial and warehouse space.

Scannell secured the site last year and sought a variation of conditions to allow the redistribution of office and industrial and logistics uses across the site in ‘direct response to the market’ which it said ‘will ultimately ensure a viable and deliverable employment site can come forward at Kingstanding within the next 12 months’. 

Scannell noted that the original ‘planning permission was secured during the global pandemic which instigated significant structural change to the office market, with the widespread adoption of hybrid working causing a sharp fall in office demand across the UK. ‘Industrial and distribution sectors also witnessed an unprecedented boom during the pandemic period followed by record low vacancy levels, strong demand and constrained supply’. 

The developer said that since this time  the overall balance of market demand for commercial space has continued to shift towards industrial and distribution sectors. At the same time, structural shifts caused and accelerated by the pandemic, including increased home working, have dampened demand for office space within Tunbridge Wells (as elsewhere across the region and country) and this is not expected to change in the short to medium term.

With this in mind Scannell looked to reduce the amount of office space on the site from some 513,000 ft2 of office space to around 150,000 ft2 of office space and increase the amount of industrial and logistics space from around 398,000 ft2 to more than 525,000 ft2.

Scannell Properties Head of Capital Deployment for Europe and the UK Geoffrey Pizzanelli, said: “After identifying and securing this opportunity, we have worked closely with the local authority to design the optimal concept including a change of use for the site from offices to a much-needed industrial and logistics scheme.”

On this basis RLAMP agreed a joint venture to bring forward the site. The proposed scheme will deliver over 500,000 sq ft of new, best-in-class industrial and logistics accommodation. The post-development GDV is estimated at £135m. 

The scheme targets a BREEAM Outstanding and an EPC A+ rating.  

RLAMP, Investment Manager Daniel Shepherd said: “This acquisition marks a significant milestone in our strategy to expand in the logistics sector and demonstrates Royal London Asset Management Property’s commitment to providing high-quality logistics developments in strategic locations. We look forward to working with Scannell Properties on the scheme's progression and delivering much-needed industrial facilities and offices in the South East.”

RLAMP manages over 17 million ft2 of industrial and logistics across the UK. Earlier in May, the company finalised a round of transactions in the industrial and logistics sector worth more than £350m, including a sale of 33.6 acres of industrial estate in Southall and the acquisition of a 4.16-acre site in Havant.

Royal London Asset Management Property and Scannell Properties were represented by JLL.

Savills advised BTF Partnership on the sale of the land to Scannell.