Major investment ‘attracts business to high-flying Luton’

Eamon Kennedy, head of commercial agency at Kirkby Diamond

Luton is fast becoming one of the UK’s go-to business destinations thanks to massive investment in the town’s infrastructure, according to leading commercial property consultancy Kirkby Diamond.

First class infrastructure, a skilled workforce and impressive connectivity means more businesses and workers looking to escape London are heading north up the M1 to Luton.

The town, which has had its share of detractors in the past, is experiencing something of a boom, said Kirkby Diamond’s Eamon Kennedy, a partner based at the company’s Luton offices.

Eamon said: “These are exciting times for Luton. The town is better connected than ever. The new junction 11A of the M1 is set to complete in 2017, and Luton International Airport (the UK’s fastest growing) saw its largest passenger numbers ever in 2015.

“In central Bedfordshire, more than 8,000 new jobs have been created in the last two years and over 750,000 sq ft of commercial space was completed in the area in 2015.”

He added: “Luton also has eight major strategic development sites offering retail, leisure, hotels and housing opportunities and large sites for engineering, technology, creative and aviation-linked employment. In April, it was also announced that the town would embark on an ambitious £1.5 billion inward investment programme.

“Further to this, the commercial property sector continues to see limited office stock available in Luton town centre, with rental values remaining high and approaching 2006 levels, but providing significant value compared with locations further south along the M1.”

Kirkby Diamond has overseen a number of significant deals in Luton in recent months.

The extension of Permitted Development Rights has been welcomed in the town’s office market, with obsolete stock being taken out of the system and new developments started.

“One major development is the 60-acre, mixed-use Napier Park at the former Vauxhall car factory site in Kimpton Road. The regeneration scheme will encompass offices, industrial units, a hotel, a food store, retail and residential units and is a landmark scheme for Luton – demonstrating the investment in the town and the confidence those investors have in its future,” added Eamon.

According to figures released in January 2016 by Reeds Rain and Your Move, Luton has the fastest growing house prices in the UK with more than 31,000 new homes planned before 2031. It was also named in the top 50 ‘Hot retail destinations’ in the UK by Property Week in November 2015.

Kirkby Diamond is a full service firm of chartered surveyors and property consultants. The company, with offices in Milton Keynes, Luton and Bedford, works with local and national clients to offer a total solution to their surveying and commercial agency needs.