What is Co-Location Development?

Man wearing black suit smiling in an alleyway

‘Co-location’ has become a bit of a buzzword recently – especially amongst industry professionals within London and other major cities in the UK. But, what does it mean?


What is a Co-Location Development?

A ‘co-location development’ is a term given to a property project which combines industrial and residential uses.

This could mean splitting a site horizontally, with half of a plot dedicated to housing and the other to commercial use, or vertically, for example, maximising available floorspace by building flats above an industrial unit.

A great example is Travis Perkins’ Kings Cross location where a delivery depot has flats built on top, which cuts vehicle emissions by shortening delivery distances and provideds much-needed accommodation in the city centre. Another example is a high-rise apartment block above an Asda supermarket in Romford.


(source: submitted Design and Access Statement/Planning Report)


Why Are Co-Location Projects Becoming So Popular?

Although there are few co-location developments in the UK right now, there are a number of large-scale proposals currently being assessed by planning departments. Why? Well, these proposals are created with the latest gov plans in mind.

As Justin Kenworthy, Partner at planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore says:

‘We all look to balance the Mayor of London’s new draft policy on intensification of Strategic Industrial Locations, Locally Significant Industrial Sites and other industrial land currently being used for Class B1c, B2 and B8 purposes (industrial and storage), whilst meeting the need to deliver more homes in London.’

Then, of course, there is the factor of decreasing availability of plots in major cities – especially brownfield land. It can be tempting to simply build residential properties, but a co-location or mixed-use development means not only will you be helping the housing crisis, but creating much-in-demand industrial space in a strategic location.

Read more: Everything You Need-to-Know About Building on Brownfield Sites


What Are the Key Things to Consider Before Starting This Kind of Development?

One of the most important factors to consider when planning a co-location development is how these different uses will, or will not, work together. You need to consider the requirements of each occupant carefully and ensure there is no major effect on future long-term use of the site or surrounding land.

For example, residential occupants will prioritise elements such as noise, air quality, parking, etc., whereas an industrial one would deem access, safety, and minimal business interruption as key. In short, more time and effort should be spent in the planning stages, compared to a solo use development, to ensure there is no conflict and harmony is guaranteed.

This is described as the ‘Agent of Change’ principle by the Mayor of London. His draft New London Plan states that particular consideration should be given to:

  • Safety and security
  • The layout, orientation, access, servicing and delivery arrangements of the uses in order to minimise conflict
  • Design quality, public realm, visual impact and amenity for residents
  • Vibration and noise
  • Air quality, including dust, odour and emissions

These aren’t for the faint-hearted, or those lacking experience. Every project is different, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with the constraints of each scheme. Detailed plans, an excellent working-knowledge, and plenty of funds are key to make a co-location development soar.


Need Commercial Development Finance?

Whether you’re planning a large-scale co-location development or a small project, we can help match you with the finance you need. Get in touch with our development finance brokers today to find out more.

Article By Tom Rowlands

April 17th, 2020

Tom joined Pure Property Finance in 2017 after a career as a Client Wealth Manager, where he spent just under 3 years advising on financial and tax planning. Tom specialises in bridging finance and property development funding, having completed deals ranging from a simple £30K property purchase through to £2m+ mixed-use developments.

See more articles by Tom

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