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Commercial Property Register

December 2017 - March 2018




Given the tight limits on government funding it makes sense for

local authorities to become more entrepreneurial and boost their

income through property investment and development.

Many are already doing this although there is always a degree of

resistance because of the perceived risks of such a policy.

In the North West, Warrington Borough Council has taken this route

and is buying the highly successful Birchwood Park, arguing that it is

protecting its frontline services and employment from the worst effects

of government spending cuts.

The park, which has 150 businesses and a specialist group of nuclear

engineering companies, is owned by Oaktree Capital Management and

Patrizia. The money will help hold taxes in check and bring investment to

the town centre.

Cllr Russ Bowden said: “Warrington is very much seen as an exemplar

of how to go about this type of investment.” The council believes it leads

the way in investing its capital and bringing benefits in lower taxes.

Meanwhile, the last warehouse unit at Cavendish Avenue has been let by

the park’s manager, Patrizia, to BiSN, a global company in metal-to-metal

downhole sealing solutions. The company has moved from two sites in

Runcorn and Atherton into the 2,044 sq metres (22,000 sq ft) building

which gives BiSN Enterprise Zone status as well as the range of facilities

and services within the Cheshire Science Corridor.

Martin O’Rourke of Birchwood Park said: “Cavendish Avenue was built

in response to the growing demand from SMEs for bespoke space in the

North West. The combination of office and warehouse space in a business

park has generated interest and we are pleased now to have a full


The success of Birchwood Park is obvious from the fact that more

than 6,503 sq metres (70,000 sq ft) of offices was let in the first half

of the year, up 45% on the same period of 2016. Impressively, 20 new

companies have moved in, including the high profile Ricoh, which added

weight to the international flavour of Birchwood.

A key factor for the park is the arrival of high technology companies,

notably those specialising in nuclear industry, such as Cavendish Nuclear

which has leased 4,380 sq metres (47,149 sq ft) in the refurbished 106

Dalton Avenue.

O’Rourke said: “Last year was extremely successful for us and I am

glad to say this has continued in 2017. Despite market uncertainties we

have continued to see a high level of demand from businesses looking

to set up in the North West, ranging from start-ups and SMEs to global

corporations.” Of particular note is the interest from international groups.

O’Rourke noted the strong interest for the remaining space (the

occupancy rate is 94%) would mean a successful year and for the future

there are 65,030 sq metres (700,000 sq ft) of development land with

outline planning permission providing potential for bespoke office or

warehouse space.

What is often forgotten about the park is that during the Second World

War this was an RAF base leased to the US that handled the arrival of

over 11,000 planes from the United States and had a huge population

of military personnel, many of them skilled aircraft engineers with the

facilities that went with the work.


Bob Dyson

, one of the best known figures in the Manchester

property industry, has joined CBRE as a consultant, bringing 35

years’ experience to the firm. He was involved in many high profile

schemes in the city such as the Piccadilly Mayfield regeneration

scheme for London & Continental Railways, Transport for Greater

Manchester and Manchester City Council as well as numerous city

centre office schemes such as Great Bridgewater.