December 2017 news archive

IM Land celebrates successful first year

Britain’s newest strategic land operator has marked its first anniversary with an impressive 12,000 plots under its control and a further 7,000 plots in legals.

IM Land was established by its corporate parent, Midland-based IM Properties (IMP) - to identify, acquire and promote land, which through a partnership approach could be developed into sustainable new mixed-use communities.

“Essentially we aim to help land-owners unlock the potential of their assets via a disposal on a freehold basis or by guiding them through the complexities of our planning system under a strategic land agreement,” states strategic land director, Jonathan Dyke.

“It was clear that the traditional approach to housing delivery wasn’t providing the numbers necessary, and having put together a team of leading professionals from the housing industry, we believed we could bring together local authorities, housebuilders, occupiers and development partners to unlock even the most challenging sites and more critically help deliver economic growth for regions.”

Jonathan is extremely encouraged by the achievements of IM Land’s first trading year, given both the ongoing issues in the housing market, and the wider Brexit-related economic and political uncertainties.

“To end our first year with 12,000 plots, across seventeen sites which we own, control, or are in partnership on, was a tremendous outcome. We’ve got a good spread in locations such as Bath, Maidenhead, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwick and Wycombe and outline planning on nearly 1500 homes across two key sites in Solihull and Lichfield, which we look forward to bringing to the market.

“We’ve added another 644 acres to our portfolio during the year by exchanging on a further ten strategic sites and seen our first school delivered in Bath as a result of our partnership approach. We also have another ten strategic sites soon to be exchanged, and are actively seeking further opportunities across the wider West Midlands, and South East and South West where we’ve made a particular focus over the past year. “

Tim Wooldridge, managing director of IM Properties is also pleased with IM Land’s performance and recognizes the track record and financial resources of IMP are proving a major catalyst for progress.

“We’ve already got a good track record for delivering complex development schemes and new employment opportunities in the Midlands, with high profile projects such as Blythe Valley Park, Birch Coppice, The Hub and Mell Square Shopping Centre injecting some measurable economic growth into the region.

“Our ability to take a long term view and understand the bigger picture has led us naturally to look at the strategic land market. The fact that we are cash rich and agile enables us to get in position quickly and secure opportunities ahead of the competition.”

“We’ve always said we want our schemes to provide a lasting legacy and by delivering best in class in all that we do, we are able to navigate the complex planning system providing schemes that stand up to scrutiny and deliver real opportunities for communities in which we work.”


Employee recognised in 20th Anniversary Celebrations

Local recruit, Natasha Grogan, has won an Employee Recognition Award to celebrate 20 years since IM Properties acquired Birch Coppice Business Park off junction 10, M42 in North Warwickshire.

Natasha was shortlisted along with three other employees from across the park’s occupiers, for the contribution they have made both to their employers and the community.

The 26-year-old Ocado support assistant who was born in Dordon and now lives in Polesworth, won the top award for going the extra mile and having a real impact on life at Birch Coppice.

Kevin Ashfield, development director at IM Properties said: “Natasha has undoubtedly made a real impression in her 3.5 years at Birch Coppice, not only introducing a sustainable transport scheme, but reaching out to the local community which is integral to the business park’s success and one of the less visible positive impacts of the site.”

Since joining Ocado in 2014, she has established the Midlands’ fastest growing car share scheme with some 1000 members and 350 plus active car sharers and a Disability Confidence scheme to help disabled people gain access to work.

Natasha has also made links with the local primary school, Wood End, to set up a Bookworms scheme to help pupils improve their reading skills.

Liam O’Mahony senior operations manager for Ocado who nominated Natasha added: “She is a fantastic asset to the team and great example of the quality of local recruits.

“Her enthusiasm and dedication has enabled her to advance her career and skills, whilst also forging strong links to the local community.”

Ocado moved to Birch Coppice in 2013 and is one of 21 top names including VW, UPS and Euro car parts operating at Birch Coppice, which has seen £350 million invested in it by IM Properties over the 20 year period.

Delighted to have received her award Natasha said: “It’s great to get the recognition. My job is really rewarding and every day is different.

“Having come from the local area it’s good to make a contribution to the community and see the impact the initiatives have on people’s everyday lives.”

Birch Coppice is one of a number of strategic sites IM Properties has on the M42 as a significant investor in the region and one of the UK’s largest privately owned property companies based in Coleshill.


Birch Coppice transformed by IMP’s long-term investment plan

Coleshill based IM Properties is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Birch Coppice Business Park off junction 10, M42 and a partnership with the local community which has seen over 6,500 jobs created.

The former colliery in Dordon, North Warwickshire, which lay derelict for a decade before it was acquired by IM Properties in 1997, is now a fully occupied, sustainable, inter-modal business park, home to 21 leading businesses including HIB, CEVA, Ocado, UPS, Volkswagen and Euro car parts.

Birch Coppice witnessed the first speculative unit to be built in the UK after the 2008 crash, and has seen circa. £350m invested in it over the 20-year period, creating new opportunities for local people to develop new skills in technology, engineering and design.

Kevin Ashfield, development director at IM Properties said:  “You walk around Birch Coppice today and it’s such a vibrant, bustling, 21st Century business park, it’s hard to believe what we started from.

“We were the only developer that really saw the potential and were prepared to invest our own capital to remediate the site and bring forward the infrastructure required. We have spent over £50m on infrastructure alone.

“The result though is an award winning business park we are all proud of and has nurtured some first class companies such as HIB, whose success has seen it double its space requirement. The park also delivers an annual GVA for North Warwickshire of £120m and business rates revenue of £8m per annum.”

North Warwickshire Borough Councilor Pete Morson, who had himself worked at the mine before it closed in 1987, said an excellent working relationship had been established with IM Properties:

“The area needed revitalising and thankfully IM Properties were able to take a long term view and invest the necessary money to attract the big names we see here today.

“They’ve worked closely with all the local parties and they’ve always been prepared to listen and respond positively, talking through any concerns.

“The community is very supportive of Birch Coppice and when a memorial was established on the site to remember all those who worked in the mines, we had emails from relatives of workers in Australia and America who wished for them to be remembered.

“It was a dangerous and hard job, however the coal board always did its best to look after its workers and we feel IM Properties has done the same.”

For centuries, coal-mining was the bedrock of the North Warwickshire economy, and Birch Coppice was the flagship for those operations, but even at its peak, only around 1,500 miners, surface workers and staff were employed. Compared to now in 2017, the park is home to 6500 jobs – over 2000 of these being at the Ocado facility on site.

Today over 4.5 million sq ft of space is occupied by food, retail, automotive, engineering, manufacturing and light assembly companies and it receives several freight trains a day into Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal.

Birch Coppice is one of a number of strategic sites IM Properties has on the M42 as a significant investor in the regions and one of the UK’s largest privately owned property companies based in Coleshill.