With just one more week until toll charges on the Severn Crossing are abolished (Monday 17th December) Chris Sutton, lead director at property consultancy JLL in Cardiff, said:
“The M4 is the route to market for two thirds of the Welsh economy. The removal of the tolls opens up a major opportunity for the nation’s businesses – and none more so than the logistics sector. Major players in retail distribution have laid roots over the water on the Avonmouth stretch of the M5/M49 at Bristol but are reportedly struggling to attract labour. Growing the industrial sector here, once charging is no longer a barrier to business, will bring those employment opportunities home.
“The distribution sector is leading across all markets in terms of property take-up and demand, primarily due to the growth of online retailing. And admittedly Wales has its challenges here, including the quality of the M4 and the uncertainty around the relief road that has so far created anything but relief, and the limited pipeline of industrial sites and buildings. But at last, a charge on every lorry as it makes its return journey to the depot will no longer be one of them. And given that decision time on a relief road may slip yet again, we may well find the reality of toll removal actually strengthens the case for it.
“We cannot underestimate the positive impact going toll-free will have. The logistics sector is already a star performer in the Welsh economy, driving demand for construction and development. Along with a plentiful supply of labour and attractive residential property prices, distribution is set to go from strength to strength.”