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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

Kingmoor's £60m warehouse plan to create strategic hub

EXPANSION is on the cards at Kingmoor Park, the industrial park developed on the site of a former RAF munitions base north of Carlisle.

Its owners are ready to plough up to £60m into a scheme that could involve building a 1m sq ft warehouse – or a series of smaller units – potentially creating 500 jobs.

Talks are under way with property agents to sign up firms for the new warehousing programme, marketed as Monarch@Kingmoor.

London agents acting for major industrial clients were targeted at a parliamentary reception hosted by Carlisle MP John Stevenson in June.

Tony Goddard, managing director of Kingmoor Park Properties, said: “We’ve had great feedback. These agents see Carlisle as a strategic location.”

Growth in online shopping has triggered a huge increase in demand for warehousing.

Outline planning consent is in place for Monarch@Kingmoor so work could start quickly once firms are signed up.

Entrepreneur Brian Scowcroft launched Kingmoor Park on the site of the old RAF 14MU in 1999.

He was initially in a joint venture with Carlisle City and Cumbria County councils but has since bought them out.

Mr Goddard believes that the park is ready to start a new chapter in its growth.

The opening of the Carlisle Northern Development Route last year improved access.

It is close to the M6, has a railhead for freight, is near Carlisle Airport for private flights, and now has high-speed broadband and an ample power supply.

Mr Goddard said: “We tick all the boxes that the big operators need.

“This is a small niche market in the commercial-property world.

“There are not many estates that could cope with a development of this size, not only in terms of space but key features including access, planning potential, workforce, data communication and capacity.”

Major supermarkets and internet retail giants such as Amazon are the types of businesses that require warehousing developments of the size that Kingmoor Park can provide.

Mr Goddard said: “It’s early days with this but we have been picking up enquiries.

“There are people in the market looking to move. There are companies who have been successful through the economic downturn and we’re seeing they now have more confidence to invest in their future.”

Monarch@Kingmoor could be the catalyst for the park’s long-planned ‘hub’ development to introduce a leisure element including a hotel, family pub and cafes to service the workforce.

Mr Goddard said: “As Monarch@Kingmoor grows, the need for the hub will increase.”

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