February 2021

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IT’S LIFE JIM, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT! 

“Star Trekkin'” is a 1987 song by British novelty band The Firm. It parodies the first television series of Star Trek and famously includes the lyrics “”It’s life Jim, but not as we know it”. The song entered the UK charts at number 74, eventually climbing to spend two weeks at number 1.

With the publication of the government’s roadmap this week that sets out the progressive unlocking of society, there is much attention on the future of work and in particular the future of physical office space. Attitudes to homeworking have changed across the life of the pandemic and for many it’s been a case of, “it’s work, but not as we know it!”. For some the experience has been liberating and rewarding, but research shows that the experience for many has been challenging.

A poll of workers undertaken this month by the Royal Society for Public Health’s (RSPH) found that two-thirds of workers who shifted from the office to home during the pandemic felt less connected to their colleagues.

The survey – part of the RSPH’s Disparity Begins at Home report – also revealed that more than half (56 per cent) of those who started working from home said they found it harder to switch off, while almost two in five (38 per cent) said the change had disturbed their sleep.

The survey also revealed the toll that working from home has had on employees’ physical health. One in four (26 per cent) remote workers were doing so from either a sofa or a bedroom, with just 15 per cent working from a desk.

Working from home has become a fact of life for millions of people, accelerating a trend that was well established before the Covid crisis, but as we start to unlock society it will be fascinating to see how organisations adapt strike a balance between what is good for the business and what’s good for the individual. Hybrid working models are undoubtedly going to be a feature of the future, but the much heralded death of the office in the early days of working from home might prove to be premature.

It was reported last week that Barclays will keep a “significant presence” in Canary Wharf, according to chief executive Jes Staley, despite a shift to home working prompted by the coronavirus. Mr Staley last year prompted speculation that Barclays could cut down its office space in the financial hub after he said the outbreak of COVID-19 could make large offices a thing of the past. But the banking boss has toned down his approach, stating that his company had no plans for a “major real estate move”. “We will keep a significant presence in Canary Wharf, no one has a crystal ball as to how this will all unfold, but right now there is no plan on our part to make a major real estate move,” he said.

Covid 19 will have a long lasting and profound effect on all areas of society and business and for academics studying how this plays out over the next few years will provide endless opportunities for research and report writing. There again, we might just go back to how many things were previously. Analogies have been drawn with the 1920s, where society went “crazy” after the impact of the First World War and the 1918 flu pandemic and the “Roaring 20s” were a period of excess and significant economic growth.

There are a host of parallels between current global conditions and those prior to the Roaring 20s: the end of a pandemic, the proliferation of new technologies, a transport revolution, political polarization, emerging international rivalries and a soaring stock market. Let’s be careful what we wish for though, as the excesses of that decade led to the Great Crash in 1929 and the austerity that followed contributed to the rise of the fascism in Europe that had disastrous consequences.

Nature demonstrates that ecosystems in balance can be sustained but fail when there is imbalance. Finding the right balance as we come out of the current crisis will be essential in so many areas, although unfortunately history would suggest that as a species of humans find balance difficult.

Michael Garvey

Call for Brownfield Sites in Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire Council are working on the new Local Plan which will allocate sites for developent up to 2040. 

Sites can be submitted to the Local Authoirty for consideration up to 22nd March 2021.  

Brownfield sites are either currently or formerly occupied by a permanent structure and any fixed surface infrastructure. They do not include former agricultural or forestry buildings, residential parks or allotments or land developed for mineral extraction or waste disposal. 

Buckinghamshire Council are searching for brownfield sites so as to reduce the amount of greenfield land required for development in the future. 

Ideal sites consist of former employment land that is underused, vacant or will become vacant in the next 5 to 10 years. 

Chandler Garvey has had considerable success with promoting sites for development through previous call for sites processes. About six years ago we were approached by an owner of a 5 acre site in High Wycombe that was within the Green Belt and Area of Outstanding Beauty, but adjacent to a residential area. Wycombe District Council was reviewing its Local Plan at the time we made a submission, suggesting that the site was suitable for residential development despite the current designations and the existing use that was for grazing only. At the same time we introduce the opportunity to a developer of market and it picked up the cost of promoting the site and in 2019 it was adopted within the Local Plan with a designation for a 50 house development.

If you have a brownfield site or indeed a virgin greenfield site that you think might be suitable for redevelopment in the future, irrespective of its current use, we can consider the potential for you and make a submission into the current process.

For further information please contact Michael Garvey 01494 460250 / mg@chandlergarvey.com.

 

New Instructions

Discovery House, Aveling Road

High Wycombe – A newly refurbished offuce building close to the train station and town centre. 6,700 SQ FT TO LET.

2 Derehams Lane, Loudwater

High Wycombe – An industrial unit with a secure yard. 13,000 SQ FT TO LET.

DQM House, Baker Street

High Wycombe – Town centre offices which could be offered furnished. 1,500 SQ FT TO LET.

Units 1 & 2 Aston Hill

Lewknor – Two industrial units for sale as an investment. 5,100 SQ FT FOR SALE.

1st Floor, Riverside House, 44 Wedgewood Street

Aylesbury – Modern first floor offices in Fairford Leys village centre with lift access. 1,262 SQ FT TO LET.

Deals Done

Ex-Services Club, Aylesbury

Sold to Hopewell Housing Ltd who will be converting the property into extra care facilities.

Hopewell Housing Ltd are a specialist care organisation providing supportive housing for vulnerable adults with mental health needs.

Dovetail House, Stokenchurch

Last remaining suite of 1,000 sq ft on the ground floor now let. The whole building is now fully occupied.

The Future of Business Rates

High St

Business rates for High Street retail stores should be slashed by 35%, according to the boss of Next.

Lord Simon Wolfson says that unless the government sets rates at a level that is fair, a huge number of shops will have to close unnecessarily. He said the current system was “unfair” to bricks and mortar retailers, many of whom are struggling through the pandemic.

Lord Wolfson has also suggested a hike in business rates on warehouses, saying they should be subject to an increase of up to 50% in a bid to level the playing field between online giants like Amazon and chains located in expensive city centre stores.

The Future of the High Street

High Wycombe Corn Market

Primary Health Properties is considering opening health centres on the high street by redeveloping some former retail sites.

Chief executive Harry Hyman said the firm has had some “exploratory talks” about repurposing some vacant retail sites. More vacant sites are expected to come in and around malls, and on the high street, in the coming years as some retailers potentially reduce estate sizes following COVID-19 disruption and ever-increasing competition from online rivals. “We continue to see demand for extra space to help enable the redirection of activities out of hospitals.

The need for modern, integrated, local primary healthcare facilities is becoming ever more pressing in order to relieve the pressures being placed on hospitals and A&E departments,” said Mr Hyman.

Small business

COVID-19 Loan Help

Small firms are being given breathing space to repay their loans under the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

The Chancellor has announced plans for companies to extend the length of the loans under a “pay-as-you-grow” initiative.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme has proved popular amongst small businesses with over 1.4m firms borrowing more than £45bn.

The changes include 

  • Extending the length of the loan from six years to 10 years.
  • The ability up to three times during the loan to make interest only payments for 6 months at a time.
  • Pausing repayments entirely for 6 months 

The Government hopes this will allow businesses to get back on their feet as the economy strenghens.

The general view from businesses is that they hope this will be the last lockdown, they are desperate to plan for their future and are excited to be able to re-open or to trade more profitably in 2021.

New Industrial Development at Aerial Park, Chesham

Chandler Garvey have been instructed by the new purchasers of Aerial Park, Longmead Capital, to market the site which will provide new industrial units from around 4,000 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft.

The units will be available to let only and construction ground works have started on the site, with completion due the last quarter of 2021.

Joint agents on the site are JLL and CBRE. Further details from Alan Chandler – 01296 398 383 or ac@chandlergarvey.com

Aerial Park Chesham

Beaconsfield is the Leading Shopping Destination in UK, Study Finds

Beaconsfield is Britain’s leading shopping destination, according to a ranking compiled by a retail property consultancy. 

Harper Dennis Hobbs undertook the research as part of their Vitality Ranking where Beaconsfield beat 1,000 other retail centres. 

Consumers have been supporting their local retail centres during the Coronavirus pandemic to the expense of major shopping destinations. 

The retail sector has already seen a profound impact due to the pandemic which will only continue throughout 2021. 

New Property Search going live in March

Chandler Garvey has designed a new property search function on our website in order for users to find the right premises in as few clicks as possible. 

Commercial property searches are changing and have been for a number of years. Most people now start their search online which is why Chandler Garvey advertise their properties across many portals including Rightmove, Zoopla, Novaloca, Realla and our own website.

The prevelence in online searches can be seen in visitors to our website. There has been an increase of almost 100% in traffic to our website in January 2020 compared to January 2019. 

The new property search page will showcase all of the live instructions, together with featured properties. Each property now has at least 5 photos and we are constantly adding to the list of properties that have a floorplan as we recognise how important this is to applicants.

Applicants will also be able to request a viewing direct from the property and register to receive relevant updates.

Further upgrades to the wider website are due to be launched in March and this in conjunction with our Live Chat feature will ensure up to date information is accessible at all times. 

CG Property Search

New development to take shape at Westcott Venture Park

Work is due to start on another new industrial scheme at Westcott Venture Park fuelled by anticipated demand. 

Plans for a new light industrial development of 16,240 sq ft, located on the A41 between Aylesbury and Bicester have been approved by Aylesbury Vale District Council.

The new development is situated alongside the highly successful Century Court scheme which is located towards the eastern end of the business and technology park.

Owners PATRIZIA will invest £1.5 million for the construction of the scheme known as Building 1030, which will further expand Westcott’s portfolio of buildings.  The scheme will provide two semi-detached high specification industrial buildings with first floor offices comprising 7,500 sq ft each with roller shutter doors and parking.

Building 1030 is currently available on a build to suit basis but PATRIZIA is considering a speculative start in 2021. This follows on from the successful completion of the 47,000 sq ft Century Court development, a 12-unit scheme which is let to eight occupiers – two of which expanded on the Park and six new companies relocating to the estate.

Westcott
Westcott Venture Park Aerial Shot

Rod Mordey, Director at PATRIZIA says: “Building 1030 will be a fantastic addition to the wide range of buildings already at Westcott and should be well placed to capture the growing demand from companies seeking space of this size within a first-class business environment.

”It will provide companies with the opportunity to join an established community of like-minded businesses, helping to satisfy requirements from within our existing customer base and for companies wishing to relocate.”

Alan Chandler, Director Chandler Garvey said: “We are delighted that this scheme has achieved consent. The area is in need of such flexible space as the demand for industrial property continues to improve despite Covid 19.”

Westcott Venture Park is now home to over 80 businesses employing over 600 people and is managed by Lambert Smith Hampton. The Park is now evolving with a major investment programme to improve and further develop facilities and infrastructure, providing companies based at the Park with an excellent service and sense of belonging to the Westcott community.

For further information please click here for the brochure or contact Alan Chandler. 

Our Locations

Amersham

Phone: +44 (0)1494 723999

Aylesbury

Phone: +44 (0)1296 398383

High Wycombe

Phone: +44 (0)1494 446612

Marlow

Phone: +44 (0)1628 902488

Slough

Phone: +44 (0)1753 725700