Olympics boost for relocation

THE Ipswich area could be set to cash in as businesses displaced from east London by the 2012 Olympics look for new sites. But while estate agents are fielding inquiries from London about the availability of commercial or industrial land, Ipswich's flagship scheme, Ransomes Europark, is filling up more rapidly than expected.

THE Ipswich area could be set to cash in as businesses displaced from east London by the 2012 Olympics look for new sites.

But while estate agents are fielding inquiries from London about the availability of commercial or industrial land, Ipswich's flagship scheme, Ransomes Europark, is filling up more rapidly than expected.

And one Ipswich estate agent has warned of a lack of land in the future, highlighting a need to find new sites for clients seeking to move to the area.

Chris Moody, director of Savills' Ipswich office, said the firm had fielded an inquiry from a Stratford-based distribution warehouse looking for 43,000 sq ft because it was anticipating its current premises would be compulsorily purchased as a result of the Olympics.


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“The Olympics is just one event or scenario which is leading to companies relocating or looking at land available,” he said. Sales of land at the 253-acre Ransomes Europark, now in the final phases of development, were going “really, really well”.

About two years ago, with 200 acres of Ransomes developed, the final 53 acres was sold toWinro and Maro Developments. Of this final tranche, around two-thirds is either sold or under offer.

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Finding land that was zoned, consented and available was becoming an issue for the future, said Mr Moody. “I think we are rapidly approaching a crossroads where together with Ipswich Borough Council we'll need to sit and think about how we bring land forward,” he said. “What we have got allocated is rapidly being absorbed.”

However, he added that Ipswich Borough Council had a “very forward-looking outlook” towards the issue, and he had “every confidence” neighbouring councils would have similar philosophies.

Kevin Smith, of Bidwells' in Ipswich, agreed that land was going well at Ransomes Europark, which was seen as a “prime location”.

“We have been surprised at how quickly the take-up has come,” he said. “From a longer term stance, I suppose once we are out of land there as such, there is going to be limited space elsewhere.”

As yet, there was not a large number of inquiries resulting from the Olympics development, he added, although the firm had received an increasing number of inquiries from London over the last quarter.

Julian Munson, inward investment manager at Suffolk Development Agency, said new business inquiries for the county had increased by 60% over the last 12 months and a “significant chunk” were from the London area and from the southeast.

“I think we do have to look two or three years down the line. I think we'll reach a point where there will be a serious problem in the next five years,” he said.

“The sites are there, I think. It's important to stress that it's just bringing them forward for development sooner rather than later.”

Paul Chippendale, head of economic development and property services at Ipswich Borough Council said they would be inviting key agents to a breakfast meeting on June 5 to discuss inward investment opportunities that may be opening up as a result of the Olympics, and to see how much of an issue land availability was.

“I think it paints a very positive picture for Ipswich with all this happening,” he said. “I would like to think there is a real opportunity and the agents will be taking advantage of that.”

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