Kilpatrick & Co logo
Chartered Surveyors

NEWS

news article image
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY NEWS

My first column of 2020 gives an opportunity to look back over the property events of the past year, which has largely been forgettable, with Swindon and Wiltshire’s commercial property market suffering from the Brexit stalemate blues, much like the rest of the UK market! Probably the biggest deal of the year was the sale of the 123,000 sq ft Parade shopping precinct in Swindon for £23.35m. Other notable deals included Nationwide Building Society’s acquisition of the 76,000 sq ft Trilogy office building on Kembrey Park and DHL’s acquisition of an 80,000 sq ft distribution building at Ignition, Dorcan. Notable setbacks included the closure of Morrisons supermarket at Regent Place and Argos, Starbucks, Thorntons & Dorothy Perkins/Wallis all closing in the town centre. Kilpatrick & Co’s best deal of the year was the sale of Wise Employment’s 5,800 sq ft office building in Commercial Road, Swindon, which took almost the whole year to complete, whilst the purchaser obtained a consent for a residential conversion project. Looking ahead for 2020, we hope December’s General Election and the removal of the long running political stalemate will produce better trading conditions and improved business confidence, which will trickle through to improve conditions in the commercial property market. Certainly, the new Government has numerous challenges ahead of it, but in the property world, reviving town centres, encouraging urban renewal and diversification and tackling the business rates crisis should be high on the “to do” list. The property industry needs to work with the Government to develop solutions to deal with the structural changes in the retail sector to reduce the large numbers of vacant shops in many town centres across the country, including here in Swindon and deal with the impact of technology on working patterns and work to attract inward investment into the UK’s property assets and infrastructure to boost trade in a global economy, not to mention the challenges of sustainability and social impact. Not too much to ask is it?