By Richard Baker, a Director of Prop-Search
With Corby scheduled to double in size by 2031, it is a town with a vision to improve inward investment in industry, providing opportunities for its growing population, as well as education, health and cultural facilities. There is on emphasis innovative technologies, digital skills, low carbon growth and the development of a prosperous economy, hopefully leading to an increase in Corby’s profile within the UK and Europe.
This desire will place even greater importance on the town centre becoming a focal point for surrounding residential communities. Fortunately, funding for this could come in the form of cash grant from the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund, with Corby selected is among 101 others across the UK.
Corby Borough Council recently approved its application, which could access up to £25m of funding for local projects through the Towns Fund scheme, prioritising four keys projects which it believes will build on its already successful regeneration.
A new sixth form college run by The Bedford College Group – which has the Tresham Campus on nearby Oakley Road – is in the running and could cost up to £6m. The plan would be to site it within the upper two floors of Chisholm House; the majority of which has been vacant and in bare shell condition for many years. It would be renovated to a carbon-negative standard using the very latest innovative technologies and will deliver a modern, fit for purpose building that could accommodate 537 young people by 2025/26.
Also possible is a new key gateway point at Market Walk East, the current site of a large car park, which may include an art gallery or digital/community hub. The exact services to be provided are as yet unclear as the Council will look to engage with local stakeholders to determine the most beneficial uses. A new cycle network connecting the railway station on the edge of Corby Old Village and the town centre has been included in the bid.
Corby appears to be on track with its plans of inward investment as a huge warehouse park on 200 acres of land to the east of the town – on the A43 between Stanion and Weldon at Cowthick Plantation – has been consented by the Borough Council. The scheme, by Mulberry Developments, will be set over approximately 200 acres and made up of four zones totalling 404,000 sq m of employment space; largely logistics. The developer claims the site will bring around 7,000 new jobs to the town, with the economic benefits being a key reason for planning officers advising that despite the scheme being outside of the masterplan for the area, it should be approved.
The scheme will act as a sister site for Mulberry’s Midlands Logistics Park – located on the opposite side of the A43 – on the former Stanion Lane plantation and now home to Europa, BSH Home Appliances and Eddie Stobart. It will provide build-to-suit opportunities with single units of up to 2 million sq ft of flexible space.
The final unit at Midlands Logistic Park is now nearing completion having been speculatively constructed. Arrow248 comprises 248,258 sq ft and has been constructed to target the logistics market with 43 HGV trailer bays, 22 dock access doors and three-level access doors.
In response to continued demand from the food manufacturing sector the Dutch automated cold storage specialist, NewCold, has started construction of a new facility in Corby, having purchased a 23-acre site on Curver Way from Solihull-based Warmflame Developments. The land at Willowbrook East Industrial Estate originally formed part of the Tata Steel site and is being redeveloped to provide a 635,000 sq ft cold-store warehouse, scheduled to open at the beginning of next year. NewCold has said that Corby was identified as the perfect site to support its existing site in Wakefield due to its location at the centre of the ‘golden triangle’ of logistics and that they are already speaking to high volume potential customers, to add to their existing customers including McCain, Aunt Bessie and Birds Eye.
With new development underway – and where diggers and hod-carriers go – there is certain to be further investment and growth opportunities. The global players that have been attracted to Corby over the years are a clear testament to the town’s business strengths, as well as its logistical location. But that’s only part of the story.
The area is committed to growth and that means a great choice of new development sites, Government and the supportive local agencies – so Corby has an incredibly positive outlook. The population is expected to significantly grow, thousands of new jobs will be created by the business opportunities in development and significant new housing stock becoming available.