An expanding digital agency is leading the way for lettings in the recently refurbished Norfolk+Ashton in CMK.
On behalf of the property’s owner, Commercial Estates Group (CEG), Louch Shacklock completed the leasing of 4,800 sq ft of office premises to Aira Digital.
Norfolk House has benefited from a multi-million-pound investment by CEG, and the extensive refurbishment works were completed in time for the reopening of the building. Aira’s new 2nd-floor office space included a custom fit-out package, delivering a turnkey solution with minimum downtime for the new tenant.
Richard Brooks, Investment Manager at CEG said “Norfolk+Ashton provides a modern and inspiring environment in the heart of Milton Keynes. With facilities such as designer furniture and lighting, dedicated meeting rooms and high-speed broadband, we have taken care to ensure a fast and smooth transition for our customers, so they can focus on growing their businesses.”
With remaining office space available to let from 1,000-13,500 sq ft, Norfolk House now boasts a leading-edge, contemporary design and an impressive specification that includes all-new air-conditioning, LED lighting, shower facilities, secure cycle storage, reception area and an extended car park.
Adding to the convenience, the building also offers a private gym facility exlusively for use by the occupiers of Norfolk House and its adjoining twin building Ashton House, known collectively as ‘Norfolk+Ashton’.
Jonathan Whittle of Louch Shacklock added: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Aira Digital and CEG on this initial letting. Norfolk+Ashton is now an attractive and well-equipped office environment ready for the 21st century, so we are looking forward to quickly following up with more lettings throughout the New Year“.
Louch Shacklock is pleased to confirm the successful letting of all available office space at Kents Hill Business Park.
Grand Union Housing Group has signed a ten-year lease for the remaining 20,000 sq ft at the K2 building. It will soon relocate to the new premises from its existing offices in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, saying that the Park’s ease of access, ample parking and distinctive on-site facilities were key factors in its decision to relocate here.
The deal with Grand Union Housing completes an exclusive series of long-term lettings achieved by our team over the last 18 months, with companies including Teletrac Navman, T-Systems, James Hay Partnership and Selo now occupying all available office space within the K1 and K2 development.
Kents Hill Business Park itself was subject to a large investment in 2016 by new owners Circle Property plc.
Circle undertook extensive, high-quality refurbishment of two former British Telecom offices, creating 70,000 sq ft of Grade A office space in the newly named K1 and K2 buildings.
Louch Shacklock was the initial and enduring Agent representing Circle Property throughout this development. Partner Jonathan Whittle agreed it’s always very positive to see investment in Milton Keynes creating relocations into MK and within the city, and he is understandably pleased that the team has managed to complete all the lettings.
“Six out of six is a great achievement,” he said “and this final deal at K2 will provide a new home in which Grand Union Housing can continue its important work”.
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is undertaking a re-assessment of the rateable value of all business properties, which is due to come into effect from 1 April 2017.
The VOA generally reassesses all rateable values in England and Wales every five years (although the last revaluation was in 2010), based on open market rental values on a valuation date two years prior. The next revaluation will be based on rental values on 1st April 2015. Taking into account changes in the property market, the basis of the upcoming revaluation is to maintain fairness in the rating system by redistributing the total amount payable in business rates; it is not intended to raise extra revenue overall.
IMPORTANT: The VOA will not be sending out printed draft valuations for this revaluation. Draft rateable values will be published online on 30 September, and failure to check these details may result in occupiers paying the incorrect amount of rates.
Given the volatility of market rents and differing regional performances from 2008 to 2015, some ratepayers will see a significant change to their liability for rates, so it is important to check your draft valuation.
Changes to Appeal System
Government is also introducing changes to the business rates appeals system in April 2017, full details of which should be published shortly. These changes are designed to avoid unnecessary or unjustified appeals, particularly those submitted by professional representatives on a ‘blanket’ basis, and will include provisions for the ratepayer to pay fees and potentially to incur penalties.
It is proposed that the new system will consist of three stages: Check, Challenge, Appeal.
The check stage will ensure that relevant facts are validated by the ratepayer (or their professional representative) and agreed as far as possible. If necessary, the rating list will be corrected to reflect the facts. It’s proposed the case has been ‘in check’ for up to 12 months (can be extended by agreement) in order to allow a ratepayer to move to challenge stage. Ratepayers may proceed to challenge stage once the check stage has been completed, and it is proposed that a challenge must be submitted within 4 months of the completion of check stage.
Challenging your rateable value
It will be necessary to set out the reasons for the challenge, and put forward an alternative valuation that’s backed up by supporting evidence. It will not be sufficient to simply state that the assessment is not correct. Where a challenge does not present sufficient grounds, substantive reasons and an alternative evidence-backed valuation for a challenge, the VOA will not accept it.
“It is essential that ratepayers are fully aware of what information is being put forward on their behalf by any professional representatives they engage, and to make full disclosure of all relevant evidence at the beginning of the process”
There may then be an opportunity for further discussion between the parties, but it should not be assumed that new evidence, arguments or amendments to the challenge will automatically be accepted.
It is also proposed that there will be a trigger point for the challenge stage, so that ratepayers have the right to move from challenge to appeal after 18 months, regardless of whether the VOA has completed its consideration of the case.
The appeal stage makes it possible to appeal to the independent Valuation Tribunal for England (VT). An appeal can be made within 4 months of a decision notice (if one was issued) and within 4 months of the conclusion of the challenge stage if no decision notice was issued. The VT will consider whether the VOA has made the correct decision on the challenge, based on the evidence put forward and exchanged at the challenge stage.
If the VT disagrees with the VOA’s decision, it may conclude that the ratepayer’s proposed rating list entry is correct, or alternatively it may substitute its own. The VOA is likely to introduce fees for appeals, in line with the approach proposed for other tribunals such as the Tax Chamber. It’s thought that fee levels could be flat rate, or could be linked to rateable value. IN the event of a successful appeal, ratepayers would receive a refund.
Civil penalties for false information
In line with other tax systems, expect the introduction of civil penalties for the provision of false information by ratepayers or professional representatives during check or challenge, whether provided knowingly, recklessly or carelessly. Again, penalties could be flat rate or could be linked to rateable value.
The New Universal Business Rate
Government is expected to announce the UBR multipliers for 2017/18 between December 2016 and January 2017. In the current 2015/16 year the UBR in England is 49.3p/£ and 48.0p/£ for small properties.
It is considered likely that the aggregate rateable value is likely to fall on the 2017 revaluation, leading to an increase in the UBR. It has been predicted that the 2017/18 UBR for standard hereditaments of 51.2p/£ to 53.3p/£, so, even where rental values have remained static, the effect of the increased UBR means many ratepayers will be paying more. Clearly, in locations were values have risen, the combination of increased rateable values and the UBR will result in a significant increase in the amount of rates payable.
On the introduction of the previous revaluations, Government adopted a system of transitional phasing. It seeks to cap the annual increase (or decrease) in ratepayers’ liabilities if, as a result of the revaluation, the increase (or decrease) in the amount of rates payable is disproportionately large. Whilst it is expected that a similar system for transition will be implemented in 2017, government is not expected to announce details until January 2017.
The government’s much anticipated high-level strategic review of the rating system should be in the public domain by 31 December 2016. The terms of reference and discussion paper is available here for download.
Action Points for Ratepayers:
– Start planning now for the 2017 revaluation, and provisioning for changing rates liabilities.
– Detailed property or portfolio data should be assembled ready for checking the new draft rateable values from 30 September 2016.
– Stand by for upcoming announcements on the detail of the new appeals system, the 2017/18 UBR and the future system of transitional phasing.
If in any doubt, always seek professional advice.
David Louch – Partner
Tel: 01908 224760
Bradwell Park industrial estate is one of the largest multi-let industrial estates in MK, providing forty steel-framed industrial and warehouse space from 3,000 to 15,000 sq ft. The Park’s units are arranged in eight blocks and feature large service yards, integral first floor offices, excellent car-parking provision and well-kept landscaping.
During the last quarter of 2014, seven of these units became vacant due to lease expiries. As of March 2015, Louch Shacklock and Partners has already let five of the vacant units totalling 36,000 sq ft, on behalf of the estate owner Henderson Global Investors.
Graham Young of Louch Shacklock said demand is at a ten-year peak, and is predicting an shortage in the availability of similar space during 2015.
“The pace of the Bradwell Park letting is another clear indicator of the strong demand for industrial and warehouse premises in Milton Keynes. We’d strongly encourage occupiers who require additional space to finalise their property requirements over the next quarter.”
Louch Shacklock now has the remaining two units available to let at Bradwell Park, each providing a gross internal floor area of 6,500 sq ft. The units are adjacent, so may also be combined to provide 13,000 sq ft.
For further information contact:
Louch Shacklock and Partners LLP
Tel: 01908 224762
Property brochure: View PDF Here
Louch Shacklock and Partners has let three warehouse units at Vincent Avenue, Crownhill Business Centre, Milton Keynes on behalf of the estate owner.
The 10,761 sq ft space at 4 Vincent Avenue has been let to Funrise International, and will become the company’s UK headquarters, showroom and distribution centre. Funrise is a subsidiary of Hong Kong corporation Matrix Holdings, which owns the popular Tonka and My Little Pony toy brands.
This deal completes a series of three successful lets for Louch Shacklock at this business park location. With it’s parent company in Taiwan, Computer hardware company Nexcom has taken a new lease on 10 Vincent Avenue (5,924 sq ft). Similar to Funrise, the premises will operate as its UK headquarters.
City Sprint has now leased 22 Vincent Avenue (7,890 sq ft) for its new Milton Keynes branch, boosting its extensive same day courier network, which is currently one of the largest in the UK.
Following these recent successes at Crownhill, Louch Shacklock is now marketing 8 Vincent Avenue. The property is currently undergoing refurbishment and provides a gross internal floor area of 8,575 sq ft/797 m2 including first floor offices of 1,622 sq ft/151 m2.
Crownhill Business Centre is an estate of 13 warehouse/production units, each with integral fully-fitted office accommodation. The units are of modern steel-framed construction finished with good quality materials including brick elevations, double-height fully glazed reception areas and generous brick paved car parking areas. There is also a spacious service yard for shared use by all of the occupiers.
Strong logistics in an attractive working environment (managed by commercial property management experts WREAM) add to the appeal of this location. Located 1.5 miles from the A5 intersection with H5 Portway, at the gateway to Central Milton Keynes and the railway station, the units present extremely well in comparison with many production/warehouse units. As a result, they have been especially popular with occupiers who are seeking to present a professional customer-facing image.
Unit 8 Vincent Avenue is available for viewing now.
For further information contact:
Louch Shacklock and Partners LLP
Tel: 01908 224763
Louch Shacklock & Partners has been appointed as letting agents by Circle Property Management, the owner of Kents Hill Business Park in Milton Keynes.
Following its £11 million acquisition of the site earlier this year, Circle is now investing a further £4 million on transforming two buildings at the prestigious site into premier Grade A office locations. The refurbishment project of 70,000 square feet of office space is well underway, and will place Kents Hill firmly on the map as offering the best office space available in Milton Keynes.
The current re-development of the two buildings, branded as K1 and K2, will create office space with superb facilities including a double-height reception area, metal profiled suspended ceilings throughout, energy efficient LED lighting, and a new VRF air-conditioning system. In addition to excellent on-site parking, both buildings will also benefit from newly landscaped entrances and impressive internal courtyards.
Kents Hill Business Park will offer occupiers the perfect work-life balance, as tenants will also have access to unique and well-established facilities on the site including an international training and conference centre, hotel accommodation with 330 bedrooms, a top-quality food plaza, and a health and fitness complex. Louch Shacklock is offering space from 5,000 – 41,000 sq ft, and we can report a very high level of early interest. Terms have already been agreed to lease 50% of the ground floor space to a single occupier for its UK headquarters.
Located at the heart of the UK midway between London and the Midlands, Kents Hill Business Park in Milton Keynes is strategically located for rapid access to regional and national road and rail networks. Accessed directly from the H8 Standing Way dual-carriageway, and is within a short drive of both Junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.
For further information, please contact:
Jonathan Whittle or Robert Shacklock
Louch Shacklock and Partners LLP
Tel: 01908 224760
Dedicated Kents Hill Business Park website with brochure:
Following his two-year training programme with Louch Shacklock & Partners, we are pleased and proud to announce that Chris McClure has achieved qualification as a Chartered Surveyor.
Chris continues to make an important contribution to the success of Louch Shacklock, successfully immersing himself in the local property market and winning the respect of occupiers, clients and colleagues. As well as his work in the sale and leasing of office, retail and industrial property in Milton Keynes, Chris has assisted the firm’s clients with a number of major real estate projects throughout the UK, including Bristol, Harlow, Birmingham and London.
“It’s a great feeling to qualify” Chris said, “I couldn’t have ask for a better environment in which to complete my training, and I’m looking forward to 2015”
The qualification, awarded by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), is recognised globally as the authoritative qualification for commercial property professionals. As a commercial property consultancy regulated by the RICS, it now means four of the firm’s partners, including David Louch, Robert Shacklock and Jonathan Whittle, are qualified Chartered Surveyors.
For further information contact:
Chris McClure MRICS
Louch Shacklock and Partners LLP
Tel: 01908 224767
Louch Shacklock and Partners has been appointed as joint letting agent for a 21 acre office and warehouse park known as Bond Estate in Bond Avenue, Mount Farm, Milton Keynes MK1 1JJ.
Originally developed during the 1970’s and 1980’s , the Bond Estate offers a range of available premises suitable for office, industrial and warehouse occupiers. It is located within the Mount Farm employment area, just a few minute’s drive from Bletchley town centre, Stadium:MK, Ikea, Asda and MK1 shopping facilities.Louch Shacklock is marketing vacant office space in four buildings:
3,078 ft2 (286 m2)
260-1,008 ft2 (24-94 m2)
551-1,078 ft2 (51-100 m2)
The specification of the offices includes air-conditioning, raised floors, shared reception areas and an excellent level of car parking provision. The offices are available to let on competitive terms, and on short or long term leases to suit occupiers’ requirements. Existing tenants include McCue Corporation, Shanks Waste Management, Miller Heiman, Formula Fast Go-Karting and Reedbut Ltd.
In addition to the offices, Louch Shacklock is also marketing a detached light industrial/warehouse unit of 14,100 ft2 (1,310 m2). The industrial/warehouse space has a minimum internal clear eaves height of 8.0m, two surface level loading doors, 3-phase electricity supply, warehouse lighting and heating.
Jonathan Whittle of Louch Shacklock commented: “Bond Estate is in a superb location next to the A5, MK Dons football stadium and Bletchley, and the amount of car parking available is among of the best in Milton Keynes!”
For further information contact: Jonathan Whittle at Louch Shacklock
Tel: 01908 224763 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are very pleased to announce our upcoming expansion into larger, freehold premises at The Barn, Warren Park – just a stone’s throw from our existing office.
Up until a few years ago, some of you may remember it as the home of Mullino’s Italian restaurant. However The Barn was originally part of the 18th Century Warren Farm, which together with its collection of farm buildings remains one of the most complete examples in the locality. Following its purchase by Louch Shacklock, the Grade 2 listed Barn will be reconfigured and sympathetically refurbished as our new offices.
Once our conversion is complete, The Barn will provide 2,500 square feet of character office space, including spiral staircases to two new mezzanine floors that make full use of a mainly double-height interior.
One feature we are all looking forward to enjoying is the large, elevated terrace to the rear of the property. The terrace overlooks the former farmstead lakes, and will hopefully provide space for a peaceful interlude or two – as well as a great area for entertaining! We plan to make full use of this for our opening party, which is booked for 12 September – so save the date!
Louch Shacklock & Partners has successfully completed the letting of 13,870 sq ft of office space at Bank House, Central Milton Keynes.
Built in 1988, Bank House is a prominent office building at the corner of Midsummer Boulevard and Upper Second Street, Central Milton Keynes, featuring 45,000 sq ft over three floors. The ground floor had been completely refurbished by the landlord Hermes Real Estate, including a new air-conditioning system, suspended ceilings, lighting and full redecoration.
The refurbished office space will be home to Xero UK Ltd, the UK subsidiary of an accountancy software company with global head offices in New Zealand. Xero had established a presence in Milton Keynes within a serviced office centre, but successful growth of the business in the UK and Europe has prompted the move to new office premises at Bank House.
As another global company brings further investment and jobs into the Milton Keynes economy, Jonathan Whittle of Louch Shacklock said: “We are very pleased to complete the letting of the Bank House office space. We faced strong competition, but the quality of the offices and their location on Midsummer Boulevard were key factors in attracting Xero. This is great news for Milton Keynes”.
Louch Shacklock has now been instructed to market 15,670 sq ft of first floor offices at Bank House. A comprehensive refurbishment programme will commence over the next few months, and is expected to be completed in early 2015.
For further information contact: Jonathan Whittle at Louch Shacklock Tel: 01908 224763