Having a healthy stock of land and spaces for a range of businesses to grow is a key concern in planning for a growing city. We commissioned a study on the supply and demand of business and industrial land in Edinburgh which found that there is 1.08 million square metres of industrial space in Edinburgh across 1,214 units which support an estimated 30,000 jobs.
The study shows the spatial pattern of all business and industry spaces, not just industrial estates that we designate for planning purposes. You can see from the map below the pattern of industrial space follows the historic siting of industry along the Water of Leith, where the river powered early industrial processes before coal or electricity was widely used.
One of the main findings is that the industrial stock is ageing, as can be seen in the bar chart below, and this is reflected in the industry rating of the quality of the space. It shows that most of our industrial space is at least 40 years old as 57% was built during the 1980s or earlier, and 93% of Edinburgh’s industrial space is of a very basic standard.
But rising rent and low vacancy rates tell us that demand for space is strong. However, speculative development of new units has been slow and industrial land has the potential to redevelop for other uses, especially to new homes in inner city areas such as Bonnington. Speculative development has been targeted to the west of the city, with good access to the trunk road network.
The study signals that more flexible floorspace will need to be built and/or refurbished to current standards to replace the older units and meet demand. We expect planning for modern industrial floorspace will be a key issue for City Plan 2030 and we will be reflecting on what delivering replacement premises means for the city’s spatial strategy.
We have also been looking at topics such as shopping and leisure and visitor accommodation and will be looking to share similar posts in future covering these. The commercial needs studies are available to view here.
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