IM Properties completes £15m planning and infrastructure project
31 August 2011
(left to right) Tim Brown of Buckingham Group Contracting and Jason Jasper, Project Manager for IM Properties
IM Properties has announced the successful completion of a complex £15 million planning and infrastructure project on Phase 2 of its Birch Coppice Business Park in North Warwickshire.
Delivered by Buckingham Group Contracting the project encompassed the 100-acre Phase 2 at Birch Coppice, creating over 85 acres of new development land at the West Midlands’ largest intermodal distribution hub.
Challenges overcome by IM Properties and Buckingham Group Contracting during the project included land acquisition and a land swap with Warwickshire County Council, footpath and overhead cabling diversions, archaeological excavations and the transfer of two million tonnes of earth. Major investment was also committed to utilities on the Business Park through the reinforcing of local networks and laying of over 10km of pipework to enable a new water supply.
The project brings IM Properties’ investment in infrastructure alone at the former Colliery site to over £40 million over the past ten years, more than doubling employment on the site in its new state. Some 35 acres of the newly created Phase 2 has already been sold to Ocado for its first new Customer Fulfilment Centre which is currently under construction and set to create over 2,000 jobs. The remaining 50 acres provides up to 1.1 million sq ft of further design and build opportunities.
Project manager for IM Properties, Jason Jasper commented: “The completion of this planning and infrastructure project is the culmination of numerous years of hard work which has seen us overcome complex planning issues including the abolition of the Regional Spatial Strategy to achieve planning in August 2010. Buckingham Group was appointed that same month and has successfully delivered this multifarious project, enabling the completion of infrastructure works across Birch Coppice, which had to be procured in phases to allow early access for Ocado and land swap. Efficient infrastructure is vital to delivering a successful Business Park and having already attracted leading businesses including Volkswagon, UPS and TNT Logistics to Birch Coppice we are clearly satisfying occupier requirements.
“The success of Birch Coppice to-date must also be attributed to the development’s on-site intermodal rail freight facilities. While road connections remain vital to the distribution industry, we have future proofed occupiers operations at Birch Coppice through the provision of rail facilities. At present the development is serviced by 6-8 trains per day and, with rail freight volume predicted by Network Rail to increase by as much as 30 per cent by 2014/15, we very much anticipate an increase in rail freight transport by occupiers over the coming years. This is unquestionably a Business Park for the future and one we hope will continue to attract astute and ambitious occupiers who recognise its unique proposition.”
Tim Brown of Buckingham Group Contracting added: “We are proud to have supported IM Properties in completing the major infrastructure works at Birch Coppice. The project presented a number of challenges that were resolved through everyone working together and focussing on the project’s goals. As a Midlands based contractor it is always exciting to be involved in projects that create long-term investment and large-scale permanent employment opportunities in our region.”
Demonstrating their commitment to the environment, IM Properties’ infrastructure project also included an investment of £750,000 in landscaping at the prime development. Seven hectares of new woodland has been created through the planting of over 45,000 trees, alongside a new wildlife corridor and 5,600sq m wildflower grassland.
Birch Coppice Business Park, incorporating the Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal, is the largest rail-served development site in the region.