Goole has a very bright future, according to experienced property investor Ashley Whittome, co-founder of Avon Capital Estates.
He has praised PPH Commercial for its key role in creating a thriving business hub in the town. Larsen Trade Park is now at almost 75 per cent occupancy after owners Avon Capital Estates made a partially-speculative £4.5m investment in it, which included a rolling £1.5m three-year redevelopment and refurbishment program to improve its quality and attract growing local businesses.
Mr Whittome believes having access to the docks at Goole and Howden, along with the close proximity to the M62 and major motorway networks and arterial roads, has contributed to the project’s success. “Without doubt, Goole’s main positive is its location because it is ideally placed for a wide variety of trade and manufacturing businesses.
“Businesses are also attracted by the highly-skilled workforce they can access right on their doorstep – because Goole is a very commutable distance from Hull, the East Riding, Selby, Doncaster and their surrounding areas.
“It’s great to see that Siemens and other big names like Croda Chemicals, Howdens, XPO Logistics and Cemex have chosen to make it their home. It’s a strong, quality, affordable location which offers value for money for our customers – judged both on a UK and local basis.
“From our perspective, the arrival of Siemens and Croda next door to our estate and other big names in the immediate area is a further positive and will drive future economic growth and job creation. It also reinforces our belief in the advantages of this location. At the same time, it’s no surprise to us – we chose Goole because we expect it to grow.”
PPH Commercial currently has principal responsibility for marketing the vacant units at Larsen Trade Park and has been successful in attracting high calibre tenants to the initiative.
Although several units are still available, ranging from 5,000sqft to 10,000sqft, the goal is to achieve 100 per cent occupancy in the near future.
Mr Whittome said: “The support, good judgement and ability to work well with our team shown by Ben Medhurst at PPH has been a key reason for our success to date. In particular, his ability to work with my very ‘hands on’ business partner David Saville.
“For our customers to know the owners of the estate – and to know that we are a family business and directly accessible – can be helpful in building the relationships of trust that we aim for.
“Other important members of our team include Michelle Gardner and Sarah Grundy who are responsible for our property management business and Gavin Ritchie and his building surveying team at Gent Visick who were responsible for the redevelopment program.
“Based on the positives I have explained, we took a degree of calculated risk on the project. The estate was in need of significant investment, had a very poor weighted average unexpired lease term, and was soon to experience a significant increase in vacancy. Without confidence in our team, in particular the excellent team of professionals at PPH, our investment would not have achieved the success it has so far – and we would not have proceeded with it in the first place.
“Our strategy was to reposition the estate by improving its quality through significant investment, more proactive management and closer relationships with our customers, the tenants.
“Ben bought into our strategy, supported us all the way through and continues to play a very important role in securing and managing tenants. That’s vital because a project like this is not straight forward.”