A ground breaking event has taken place today to celebrate work starting at LOC8, a £47m new mixed use business park on the Ashford Road at Junction 8 off the M20.
A ceremony took place this morning, where the Mayor of Maidstone – Cllr Fay Gooch – officially started the construction work on the project. All partners working on the project also attended, including Maidstone Borough Council, Locate in Kent, developers Clearbell and joint agents CBRE and Caxtons.
The building work is now underway, with plans for the new units to be completed and ready for businesses by summer this year. The site will be suitable for both small and medium sized businesses, with room for more than 1,000 employees.
LOC8 is designed to protect nature and enhance sustainability with the prominent use of local materials throughout the site. The landscaped setting will have extensive planting of native woodland and new ponds.
Cllr Fay Gooch, the Mayor of Maidstone, said at the ground breaking ceremony: “Maidstone is the business capital of Kent so it is really exciting to see this great new business park getting off the ground. It will certainly encourage even more businesses to be based in the borough, and its location is ideal, right next to junction 8 of the M20.”
With excellent road and public transport links, LOC8 is well placed to service Europe’s largest consumer market, London and the South East, with nearly 21 million consumers within 3 hours’ HGV drive time. With the Thames and Channel ports, plus the Eurotunnel, close by, global markets a short leap away.
Mark Coxon Director and Head of Commercial Agency at Caxtons, said: “The scheme is one of the most impressive Business Parks to be constructed in the South East in recent years, benefiting from high spec industrial units within a prestige parkland location and direct access to the M20 Junction 8.”
Richard Seton Clements, Industrial & Logistics Director at CBRE, said: “The demand for quality logistics space in Maidstone & Kent has suffered due to a lack of quality new stock coming through to the market. The LOC8 scheme has already received early interest from both local and national companies impressed by both the high specification and location of the scheme. Prospective tenants are looking to benefit from more economical space, a better employment pool and working environment while retaining excellent road links into London.”
The spaces at LOC8 have been designed not only for functionality and durability, but to look good too. Units will offer flexible grade A logistics, industrial and office commercial space and will have footprint sizes ranging from 5441 sq. ft. (505 sq. m.) to 106,257 sq. ft. (9,871 sq. m.)
Gavin Cleary, CEO Locate in Kent, added: “LOC8 is a fantastic opportunity for businesses looking to invest in a county which has seen massive growth in the logistics and distribution space over the past five years.
“The sector supports over 33,000 jobs and joins a number of thriving industries from food production to advanced manufacturing which have benefited from access to talent, excellent transport links and Kent’s unique gateway location between the UK and Europe.
“LOC8 is a great example of the kind of modern, sustainable logistics and distribution space that is now coming on stream ready to serve the 21million potential consumers within three hours of this strategic well-connected part of the county.
“With a growing population across Kent and the wider South East region, business investing at LOC8 will have access to the workforce and range of skills they will need, backed by great schools and award-winning colleges and universities.”
This new business park has been made possible through its allocation in the Maidstone Borough Council Local Plan and supported in the Council’s Economic Development Strategy. LOC8 is located at a sensitive location within the setting of the Kent Downs AONB and so the challenge has been to minimise the landscape impact whilst ensuring a high-quality development suitable for modern business needs, which has been achieved through the planning process.