Industrial landmark paves way for thousands of jobs at Clowes Developments’ Castlewood

A £15 million industrial landmark now rising out of the ground at South Normanton looks likely to be the first of a series of developments at a site that could ultimately host around 5,000 jobs on the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire border.

The new distribution warehouse for High Street giant Co-operative Group is being built by Derbyshire-based Clowes Developments at Castlewood, the strategic office and industrial site which sits alongside the A38 where it joins the M1 at Junction 28.

The structural steel work which will support the giant 477,000 sq ft warehouse has been erected in only four weeks, and when the building is complete it is expected to provide work for around 900 people in its own right. But further deals are now imminent for a site which will ultimately be home to over two million square feet of industrial warehousing, manufacturing production and offices.

The Co-operative Group project follows hot on the heels of Clowes’ construction of a one million square foot ‘mega warehouse’ for Mark & Spencer at the East Midlands Distribution Centre at Castle Donington. James Richards, of Clowes Developments, says the speed with which the latest scheme is progressing is a testament to the company’s growing reputation as a national player in large-scale industrial projects.

He said: “The Marks & Spencer development at EMDC was a real statement of our capacity to deliver major, strategic projects for some of the most prestigious clients in the retail business, and we have hit the ground running again at Castlewood for the Co-operative Group.

“Most of the team that worked with us on the EMDC project have partnered with us again. Their expertise and commitment is written all over the swift progress they have made so far, making a 60-acre site at Castlewood development-ready and then constructing a huge steel frame in a matter of weeks. Major retailers look for high quality delivered to tight timescales and we are on course to achieve that.”

The development team behind the Co-operative Group’s food distribution warehouse is being led by main contractor Winvic Construction and project managers First Industrial Developments, who are working with architects Isherwood McCann, civil engineers Waterman Group, legal advisers Flint Bishop and property consultants FHP. They are due to complete construction in September, when a fit-out programme will pave the way for the warehouse to go live early in 2013.

James Richards says the planning authority, Bolsover District Council, has also played a positive role in helping the development to move forward: “They were keen to see us proceed with this development right from the start and that has been reflected in the professionalism they have shown all the way through. Even though they have a strict set of protocols to follow they have done everything possible to make the journey through planning a smooth one. That has given Clowes and the Co-operative Group the confidence to move swiftly.”

While the Co-operative Group building looks set to dominate Castlewood, other development sites on the park are now being cleared in anticipation of further deals. The marketing of Castlewood has been carried out by a senior team from the FHP, comprising co-founder John Proctor and industrial partner Tim Gilbertson.

Tim Gilbertson said: “The Co-operative Group’s decision to sign up for Castlewood was a major vote of confidence in the site and graphic evidence of the strength of its location. It is less than a mile from Junction 28 and links directly to a road network which gives you near-perfect North-South and East-West coverage. It doesn’t matter whether you are in distribution, manufacturing or business services, you have got access to a vast market right on your doorstep – there’s even an airport just down the motorway!

“Castlewood is about to gain some significant momentum because we firmly believe that the Co-operative Group development will be followed in the near future by some significant announcements about other businesses moving into the site. In the long-term we expect to see the whole spectrum of business on the site, ranging from distribution to production and offices.”

John Proctor added: “Clowes Development’s credentials speak for themselves. They are a long-established Derbyshire business which now operates on a national and international scale. They choose strategic sites, provide very high quality infrastructure and deliver buildings of a standard which satisfy some of the most prestigious clients in the business.

“At the East Midlands Distribution Centre and Castlewood, they have shown that there are clear alternatives to some of the more traditional locations further down the M1. Co-operative Group had a number of options to choose from but it went for Castlewood because it was partnering with a developer who was sure to deliver.”

James Richards concluded: “In time we expect to bring forward further design and build projects and potentially some speculative build too. We will be looking for some clear signs of economic momentum for that to happen. Hopefully, the Co-operative Group building will be a sign in itself.”

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