Interim Management Statement for the period from 1st December 2009 to 26th March 2010 for St. Modwen Properties PLC, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist.
In improving, but still difficult, market conditions, we have been able to transact a steady flow of business. We continue to achieve planning and other successes in marshalling our sites for future development, and to find good acquisition opportunities. Asset management and cost control remain important priorities for the Company in the current economic climate
We remain active across all of our regions, delivering a range of mainly pre-sold and pre-let schemes, predominantly for food retailers and the public sector. We are also continuing to see signs of recovery in the residential land market.
The marshalling of the hopper for future development continues to make good progress across our regions this year:
– We have obtained planning consent for 500 residential homes, 300 holiday homes and 1m sq ft of employment uses at Long Marston, Stratford-upon-Avon, a former MoD site purchased in 2004.
– We also obtained planning, and have placed the building contract for Etrop Court, a 48,000 sq ft office complex in Wythenshawe, pre-let to Manchester City Council, which will act as an important catalyst to the wider regeneration of the town centre
– We have submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of the 110-acre RAF Uxbridge site in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The plans include proposals for: 1,425 new homes, including affordable housing; 200,000 sq ft of mixed-use commercial development; a new 1,200-seat theatre; warden-assisted elderly accommodation; a GP surgery; a primary school; and a hotel.
– We have also submitted a number of other important planning applications including: at Hednesford for an 85,000 sq ft foodstore, pre-sold to Tesco, plus 35,000 sq ft of additional retail; at Hatfield for 80,000 sq ft of retail space, 97 apartments, a new bus interchange, and community facilities; and at Longbridge for an 81,000 sq ft foodstore, together with 100,000 sq ft of other retail and leisure facilities.
– We have submitted a planning application for the Bay Science and Innovation Campus for the University of Swansea, to be built on our newly-acquired Crymlyn Burrows site near Swansea, subject to funding.
We continue to make selective acquisitions, targeting income-producing sites that are self-financing where possible, and sites that complement our existing portfolio. During the period we have spent £10m in acquiring 35 developable acres, including a vehicle component factory in Hednesford which completes the site assembly for our £50m town centre redevelopment; a 20-acre business park at Clevedon with planning for 330,000 sq ft of commercial space; and a 5 acre site in Stafford, adjoining our existing ownership, with potential for residential uses.
The occupier market remains challenging with demand for new space still at a low level. However, investor appetite is returning, and the recent surge in prices for prime and London-based investment properties should begin to benefit other areas of the market over the coming months. Similarly, the increasing level of housebuilding activity will gradually work its way into improving demand for residential land. Both of these trends give us confidence that the market is beginning to recover, and that we will be able to report positively at the half year.