Simon Hain calls for social housing-style provision for small warehouse sector

ehB Reeves director Simon Hain says the “terribly neglected” small warehouse and industrial sector needs an equivalent of social housing provision to deal with a huge national increase in demand.

Simon said while the large warehouse sector is very strong across the country, there is a huge shortage of smaller units which is harming small business development.

He said an effective solution would be to mandate the creation of small warehouse or workshop units every time a large warehouse is built, similar to the rules which mean housebuilders have to give over a percentage of every new development to affordable homes.

This would help support the burgeoning small business sector of entrepreneurs who set up companies at home, both during lockdown and prior to Covid-19, but have nowhere to go if they want to scale up.

Huge shortage

Simon said: “While retail rents have been chopped, warehousing/industrial units has remained strong and is growing steadily year-on-year, to the point there is a huge shortage of small units.

“Nobody is building small units because they are proportionately more expensive to construct.  Building a single large warehouse generally requires the connection of one set of services but if you have a large site broken down into many starter units, each one of those will need to be fitted out with electricity, heating and so on.

“The sector has been neglected terribly. At a time when lots of people have been setting up businesses at home during lockdown, there is absolutely nowhere for them to go if they want to scale up.

“This shortage pushes rents up and stymies the development of small businesses. In my opinion, local authorities and county councils aren’t doing enough to help.

“What we need is a social housing equivalent in the industrial and warehouse space sector. Whenever a large warehouse development or even large-scale residential developments are built, there needs to be a percentage given over to smaller business units.

“We must also consider the cost of construction has risen over and above inflation, increasing the development rate per square metre.”

Supporting agile businesses

Simon said the idea of a social housing equivalent of the right design for warehouses and industrial space would work for smaller businesses because they are often more agile in how and where they operate.

“The recent, significant changes to the planning user class order, which has broadened the use of many commercial properties, has lead to a further increase in demand for smaller business units,” he added.

“In the time of technology we live in, people are developing new ways of working and buildings can be very adaptable.

“We mustn’t let ambitious smaller business owners hit a glass ceiling in their development purely because there aren’t suitable premises available for them.”

Our Surveying Team

Simon Hain

Simon Hain has worked as a commercial property consultant in Leamington Spa since 1984 and has been very active within the local community and is a former chairman of Leamington and District Round Table and trustee of various local charities. Simon specialises in Commercial Agency, Development, Acquisitions and Corporate Property Advice and is a director of ehB Reeves.

Nick Evans

Nick is a Chartered Surveyor who has worked in Leamington Spa since 1992. Born in Warwick, Nick is a Fellow of the RICS, Registered Valuer, RICS Accredited Mediator and former Chairman of the RICS Coventry and Warwickshire Local Association. Nick generally concentrates on Valuation and Professional / Landlord and Tenant work as well as Investments and Corporate Property Advice for clients and is a director of ehB Reeves.  

Scott Blake

Scott is a Chartered Surveyor having worked in general practice surveying in the West Midlands area since 1991 and mainly within the Coventry and Warwickshire area. He has a wide range of experience dealing with commercial property matters including professional valuation services for private and corporate clients, other professional work including rent reviews, lease renewals, business rate appeals as well as commercial agency investment acquisitions and disposals. Scott is a director of ehB Reeves.

Stuart Gregory

Stuart heads our property management department working closely with clients to maximise returns from their property assets. He advises a number of private investors, high net worth individuals, property companies, pension funds and organisations with a charitable status, dealing with all aspects of the management of their property investments. Stuart is a Chartered Surveyor with over 25 years’ experience in Landlord & Tenant and general practice work in the West Midlands and Warwickshire. He joined Reeves & Partners in 2001 and is a Director of the firm.  

Robert Hawkins

Robert is a Chartered Surveyor with extensive experience in the property business, having worked on both sides of the fence, as adviser and client, in all market sectors and on properties and portfolios large and small. He enjoys dealing with all aspects of commercial property and acting for all types of client.

Sam Hain

Sam Hain joined us in the summer of 2017, shortly after graduating from the University of the West of England, Bristol with a BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations

Sam started work in asset management department, working as a graduate asset manager and is now very active in the agency department. Having obtained an MSc degree in Real Estate Management, Sam has started his assessment of professional competence (APC) - the on-the-job training scheme graduates need to complete to qualify as a chartered surveyor and hopes to qualify in the winter of 2023.

Sam grew up in Warwickshire and attended Warwick School and outside of work, he enjoys playing golf and football and is a Coventry City supporter.

Oliver Shelley

Oliver joined us at the start of 2023, shortly after graduating from the University of Nottingham and Trent with a BSc (Hons) in Real Estate Management. Oliver started work in the agency department and also assists in aspects of asset management as well as professional services. Oliver will soon be starting his assessment of professional competence (APC) – the on-the-job training scheme graduates need to complete to qualify as a chartered surveyor. Oliver grew up in Solihull and attended Solihull School and outside of work, he enjoys playing tennis going to the gym and cooking healthy meals.

Phil Harvey

Having joined Reeves & Partners in 2011, Phil has over 18 years’ experience in the Property industry specialising in Commercial Property Management. Phil works closely with a wide range of clients including private investment companies, pension fund operators and religious organisations advising on all aspects of Property and asset management. Phil is an experienced and valued member of the Property Management team and has acted across a wide range of property sectors including residential, industrial, office and retail. Outside of the office, Phil enjoys music, reading and Formula One.

Nigel Grugeon

Nigel is a Chartered Surveyor with over 40 years' experience in General Practice. Originally with a background in commercial property he has for many years concentrated on providing general consultancy advice to his many charity clients throughout the UK, occasionally involving properties in Ireland, France, Belgium and Italy. Nigel’s work covers a wide range of activities associated with charity owned properties which include the sales and acquisitions of substantial Estates, of properties in the healthcare and education sectors as well as development land and conventional domestic residences. Formerly based in the City of London, Nigel joined Reeves & Partners in 2010 adding his many clients to the firm's already substantial charity client base.