In a post Brexit and Covid climate, and supporting a levelling up agenda, the £1bn WMI project anchors huge international investment in the region, and a new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange
The project spans 734 acres and will deliver c.8 million sq ft of prime logistics space
The project will generate around £430m annually in local economic activity (and over £900m nationally via the supply chain - £680m in direct/indirect gross value added)
WMI will create 8,500 direct, full-time jobs (40% of which will be higher skilled, offering opportunities for people in South Staffordshire, The Black Country, the West Midlands)
It will support a further 8,100 indirect and induced jobs via the supply chain
The project will create two new country parks spanning 109 acres
It will contribute to regional and national air quality and carbon reduction targets, as rail freight produces 76% less carbon dioxide, up to 15 times lower nitrogen oxide emissions and nearly 90% lower particulate emissions than road freight
WMI is in South Staffordshire sitting either side of a branch of the West Coast Main Line and is bounded by the A449 to the west and the A5 to the north, where it meets the M6 at junction 12
We have been tracking this particular site for some time and are delighted to have secured the park alongside Oxford Properties. West Midlands Interchange is a fantastic opportunity to build out a uniquely positioned development scheme, allowing us to offer occupiers every possible size, scale, configuration and specification of unit with none of the usual planning delays or uncertainties often associated with schemes of this nature. We look forward to progressing first stage preparatory works and welcoming occupiers to this exciting project.
John Pagdin, Head of UK Logistics Capital Partners
Oxford Properties Group, a leading global real estate investor, asset manager and business builder, alongside Logistics Capital Partners, a best-in-class developer and asset manager of logistics real estate across Europe, has acquired a 734-acre site near Birmingham, UK, to create a major new logistics hub with railway freight terminal. This site is known as the West Midlands Interchange.
Oxford Properties Group (“Oxford”) is a leading global real estate investor, asset manager and business builder. It builds, buys, and grows defined real estate operating business with world-class management teams. Established in 1960, Oxford and its portfolio companies manage approximately C$70 billion of assets across four continents on behalf of their investment partners. Oxford’s owned portfolio encompasses office, logistics, retail, multifamily residential, life sciences and hotels; it spans more than 150 million square feet in global gateway cities and high-growth hubs. A thematic investor with a committed source of capital, Oxford invests in properties, portfolios, development sites, debt, securities, and real estate businesses across the risk-reward spectrum. Together with its portfolio companies, Oxford is one of the world’s most active developers with over 100 projects currently underway globally across all major asset classes. Oxford is owned by OMERS, the Canadian defined benefit pension plan for Ontario’s municipal employees.
LCP is a top ranked pan European logistics development and asset management platform, founded by James Markby, Kristof Verstraeten, and Andrea Benvenuti in 2015.
Within five years the group has quickly established itself across Europe, with offices and projects in 7 countries (Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, UK, Luxembourg, and Spain), and with relationships and projects on behalf of corporate occupier clients including Amazon, Kering, XPO, and Primark etc.
Currently, LCP has planned construction starts of 19 million sq ft and additionally manages over 1 million sqm (10 million sq ft) of income producing logistics assets for a range of global institutional capital partners.
West Midlands Interchange is the UK’s largest logistics development site, spanning 734-acres on land west of Junction 12 of the M6 in South Staffordshire, and incorporates a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) to create an intermodal logistics hub.
West Midlands Interchange will be linked directly to the West Coast Main Line, one of the country’s principal rail freight routes, and will be well placed to serve the West Midlands, the Black Country, Staffordshire, Birmingham, the northern M6 corridor and parts of Warwickshire.
When built, it will accommodate rail-served and rail-linked warehouses ranging in size from 200,000 square feet to over 1 million square feet, allowing the region’s important logistics industry to grow. The scheme will create 8,500 direct jobs boosting opportunities for people in South Staffordshire, the Black Country, the West Midlands, and other surrounding areas.
As part of the development, we will deliver a new A5/A449 link road providing a new connection between these strategic roads and enhancing the resilience of the Strategic Road Network.
Most warehouses will have eaves heights of 20m, while 15% have consent up to 24m and a further 15% up to 30m high.
We are still in conversation with businesses and organisations to occupy the site and will issue updates once confirmed.
Once constructed the site will have a value of around £1bn.
During the planning phase, including securing a specific type of planning permission known as a Development Consent Order from the Secretary of State for Transport, the West Midlands Interchange was promoted by Four Ashes Limited (FAL) – a business group led by Kilbride Holdings.
Kilbride Holdings worked in partnership with privately owned international property group, Grosvenor Group, which provided funding, and Piers Monckton, the majority landowner. The Kilbride Holdings team has developed rail-based projects for Jaguar Land Rover in Halewood and Castle Bromwich, and Honda as well as several infrastructure-led developments in the UK.
It lies either side of a branch of the West Coast Main Line and is bounded by the A449 to the west and the A5 to the north where it meets the M6 at junction 12, bringing all the connectivity benefits of the national road network and main railway line but without the capacity constraints imposed by the greater train numbers and train speeds on the main line itself.
A new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange has been identified as vital to the future prosperity of South Staffordshire, the Black Country and West Midlands region since 2004. The West Midlands’ strong manufacturing and logistics industrial base is growing, and there is currently a shortage of suitable quality development land for large scale rail-served logistics warehousing. Fast, reliable transport links are needed to help the region’s businesses compete in national and international business markets.
Alongside supporting local businesses compete on a global stage, the West Midlands Interchange also supports government policy to shift the transport of goods from road to rail. Increased rail freight transport helps reduce carbon emissions and business efficiencies providing economic benefits. Tonne for tonne, rail freight produces 76% less carbon dioxide (Rail Freight Strategy, 2016 ), up to 15 times less nitrogen oxide emissions and nearly 10 times less particulate emissions than road freight.
WMI will create 8,500 direct, full-time jobs, 40% of which will be higher skilled and administrative positions offering opportunities for people in South Staffordshire, the Black Country, the West Midlands and surrounding areas.
It is estimated that spending will support a further 8,100 indirect and induced jobs in the UK economy through the distribution chain and across a broad spectrum of business sectors. WMI will also aim to support surrounding communities by providing upskilling and training opportunities for local people.
Salaries in the logistics industry are above the national average and rising faster than the national average. Companies in the logistics sector invest substantially in their workforce, often training individuals for engineering roles and offering apprenticeships.
West Midlands Interchange will support both the Midlands Engine and the Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy to help deliver economic growth for the West Midlands and nationally:
It will help reduce carbon emissions and ease congestion in the region and nationally:
And it will boost opportunities for people in South Staffordshire, The Black Country, the West Midlands, and other surrounding areas:
We are keen for local businesses and small and medium enterprises to have the chance to work with the project. Opportunities for local contractors to work on behalf of the contractors will be promoted among local businesses as they arise.
We will promote specific job opportunities over the lifecycle of the project.
The West Midlands Interchange is expected to support a reduction of approximately 50 million kilometres in Heavy Goods Vehicle travel on the national road network, making a direct contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with transport. In addition, rail freight products around 76% less carbon dioxide, up to 15 times lower nitrogen oxide emissions and nearly 90% lower particulate emissions that road freight tonne for tonne.
In the local area, we are committed to planting over 18 hectares of additional woodland alongside hedgerow and tree planting. Around 12 hectares of farmland to the south of the development will be retained and enhanced to provide habitats for local wildlife including birds. We will also create a green corridor connecting Calf Heath Wood with Calf Heath Reservoir and enhance the Staffs and Worcs Canal corridor and towpath for recreation and leisure. The project will also create two community parks comprised over 109 acres.
We will also make sure that day-to-day operation of the site is as sustainable as possible. Around 36% of the site will comprise green infrastructure and all warehouse roofs will be 100% PV-ready, meaning we can accommodate installation of solar panels across the site. This creates the opportunity for over 150 acres of PV panels providing potentially 100 MW of renewable energy for the site at peak times.
We will issue updates on our construction process and next steps through our website and in conversation with local community groups.
From July to December 2021, we are working on pre-construction design and engagement. This is to ensure that we are well prepared for our phase 1&2 site infrastructure works running from early 2022 to summer 2024, with phase 1 of construction expected to begin in 2022. We will continue to update on project timings as the programme is defined.
Our first phase of construction is expected to begin in 2022.
The site will be developed across five phases, which will take around a decade.
If you have a query and would like to contact the project team you can reach us through the contact details below. We respond to each enquiry and, if appropriate, we will arrange a follow up call or meeting to discuss your concerns.
During our application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State for Transport, we held a robust consultation where we heard several views about the project. This was followed by an examination of the scheme by the Planning Inspectorate, which took all these views into account.
The Secretary of State for Transport approved the DCO for the West Midlands Interchange on 4 May 2020. As such we will hold no further consultation on the scheme. However, we will work with local communities across the construction phase to make sure we factor local views into our planning.
If you have any concerns or questions about how the project will be built, please register for updates at our website. You can also use these contact details to raise any specific concerns for our attention.
As construction begins, we will continue review our works to make sure they align with Government and Public Health England (PHE) guidance on working within COVID-19 restrictions. According to the current Government COVID-19 strategy, construction activity can continue in compliance with this guidance. The WMI project is a key part of the national infrastructure, and this site will support future operations and development within the freight industry.