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.