THE A11 GROWTH CORRIDOR – PROOF THAT A NEW ROAD CAN DELIVER OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
Published 2 March 2018
This month finally sees the opening of the NDR, and if the bullish forecasts are to be believed, the new road will be the catalyst for growth in economic activity. There may be some sceptics about this – but to see such a process in action, we only need to look at the explosion in growth along the A11, which was finally fully dualled in 2014.
The A11 Growth Corridor, focussing mostly on technology, is already delivering huge numbers of new jobs, and as a result, there are big opportunities for commercial property investors.
With Cambridge bursting at the seams, and stock levels of industrial units in Norwich being squeezed by growing demand, the corridor which links the two economic powerhouse cities has been the obvious place for development – especially now that the transport infrastructure is in place.
Key sites such as the Thetford Enterprise Park, Thetford Urban Extension, the Browick Interchange at Wymondham, Snetterton Heath, the Hethel Technology Park and the Norwich Research Park are already up and running, and it is here that investors will find the best opportunities. These sites are actively looking for investors prepared to build speculatively, as well as occupiers willing to invest in new-builds for their own businesses.
What this all means is more inward investment from companies relocating to Norfolk, as well as – as we have seen happen at Beacon Park – local firms moving into bigger, more modern buildings which are more suited to their business and which will allow them to expand.
All of the building blocks are coming together, the dualling of the A11 has simply been the catalyst. Equally important is the proactive attitude towards business taken by both Cambridge University and UEA (which has the second best graduate retention rate in the UK, offering a pool of skilled labour); and the fact that the industrial sector is the star performer in commercial property right now – this new development is going to come from advanced engineering and manufacturing, agri-tech and the Tech Sector.
It is estimated that in the coming years, the A11 Growth Corridor will deliver nearly 15,000 new jobs, as well as over 5,000 person years of temporary construction employment and getting on for a billion pounds in private sector investment in construction.
With rising rent levels and rising yields, this is a great time to be investing in commercial property along our region’s major road. And we should certainly be thinking along the lines of: today the A11, tomorrow the NDR.
Michael Annakin | Commercial Agency Surveyor
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