HBD to develop SPARK, a £110M logistics and manufacturing hub following planning approval

HBD has received Reserved Matters planning approval for three units totalling 464,000 sq ft at SPARK, Walsall, a £110m industrial and logistical project.

The wider 620,000 sq ft SPARK project is being developed in partnership with Walsall Council, Homes England, West Midlands Combined Authority, and Black Country LEP. The former James Bridge Copper Works site, once the largest undeveloped brownfield site in the Black Country, is currently undergoing specialized remediation works, which HBD aims to complete by Q3 2024.

With the option to develop the land in phases, HBD is already seeing interest from potential occupiers in this prime scheme. The construction of the first of the three newly approved units is planned to begin in Q4 2024, with a target completion date for occupancy in the summer of 2025. The first unit is expected to contribute approximately £40m to HBD’s current £154m GDV committed program.

Units at SPARK range from 20,000 sq ft to 254,000 sq ft, offering sustainable space at the heart of the Midlands’ manufacturing and logistics economy. Located near junctions 9 and 10 of the M6, it provides excellent infrastructure and power provision, alongside a strong local skills base. Once fully developed, the project will also support a thriving employment scheme, creating up to 1,100 jobs in the local area.

Tim Roberts, CEO of Henry Boot PLC, commented: “Industrials and logistics remain one of our high conviction sectors. Completing the specialised remediation works and securing detailed planning for the first three units at SPARK highlights HBD’s expertise in navigating a complex planning system. We are already seeing strong occupier interest due to the scarcity of high-quality space with strong sustainability credentials in prime Midlands locations, giving us confidence that we will secure an occupier and start developing the first units by the end of the year. This new logistics and manufacturing hub will enhance our growing industrial portfolio and replenish our committed development program.”

Philippa Venables, Director of Regeneration and Economy at Walsall Council, said: “We are delighted to see HBD progress with the Reserved Matters planning for the first three units at SPARK, marking a significant milestone in the development of this landmark logistics and manufacturing hub in Walsall. The collaboration between HBD, Walsall Council, Homes England, West Midlands Combined Authority, and Black Country LEP demonstrates our commitment to driving economic growth and creating job opportunities in the region.”

Mike Goulding, Development Director Central at Homes England, said: “This marks an important step forward and adds momentum to the SPARK project. We are pleased to be working collaboratively to transform this large brownfield site into a sustainable area that will boost employment opportunities in the region.”