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Development giant GLP is to build a million sq ft of warehouse space across seven units and four sites in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes, following the grant of planning permission.

It is understood to be the largest programme of speculative logistics real estate development currently underway in the UK.

GLP said the move aims to meet demand in an increasingly supply-constrained logistics real estate market in the UK. It follows the company's completion of 1.25 million sq ft of speculative development at Magna Park South, Lutterworth in December 2020.

GLP confirmed that demand for larger warehouses has significantly expanded in recent years, particularly among e-commerce occupiers in need of more storage space.

According to Savills, online sales in December 2020 were 51% higher year-on-year, with growth expected to continue. Warehouse take-up was 50.1 million sq ft in 2020 – by far the strongest year on record.

The GLP plan includes three distribution units at G-Park Bedford Wixams; a unit at G-Park Northampton; two units at its new G-Park Milton Keynes development and a unit at Magnitude 88, Magna Park, Milton Keynes.

The developments are expected to be available for occupancy in summer 2021, while Magnitude 88 will be available at the end of Q1 2021.

The sites will all benefit from a range of sustainability features including rainwater harvesting, energy monitoring, LED lighting technology and reduced embodied carbon in the construction process.

Bruce Topley, MD, GLP UK, said: “The growth of e-commerce in the UK has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic given the increased importance of home deliveries. As a result, we have seen a surge in demand for logistics real estate in the right locations. Customers are also seeking to reinforce their supply chains and increasingly require higher specification buildings and cutting-edge sustainability credentials.

"In response to this, we are excited to be bringing one million sq ft of high-quality logistics space to the market which reaffirms our confidence in the continued strength of the UK and follows the completion of over 1.5 million square feet of speculative development last year.

“All developments are in carefully selected locations with excellent transport links to key areas of the UK. Each unit will be developed with flexibility at the forefront of both the design and construction processes, enabling customers to tailor the space to individual requirements. We look forward to discussions with new and existing customers, working alongside them to meet their specific operational requirements and helping them grow their business.”