THE lack of available mid-sized industrial units is an “obstacle” that Bradford needs to overcome to meet its potential - according to the city’s chamber of commerce.

While granting planning permission for new industrial units off Rooley Lane, a planning officer for Bradford Council revealed that demand for such units is far outstripping local supply, and the council had received 21 enquiries for such units in three months.

The planning application, by Frank Marshall Estates, was for the Newhall Business Park, on the former site of West Bowling Golf Club near the M606. Described as a "nano park," planning officers said the scheme would fill a gap for mid-sized to smaller industrial units in the district.

The development will create up to 60 jobs.

The planning report into the application said: “It is acknowledged that there is an acute shortage of available employment land and premises within the district.

“There are currently only 19 units across the whole of Bradford with a floorspace up to 3,000 sqft and only seven of these have less than 1,000 sqft.

"23 units up to 3,000sqft left the market last year and so the current stock of 19 units represents only 10 months’ supply.

“The Council also received 55 enquiries for units up to 3,000sqft in the last 12 months, with 21 of these being between January and March. It is clear therefore that currently demand outstrips supply and this development would go some way to addressing this issue.”

Elsewhere in the report it says the supply of employment land needed for Bradford is “not imminent.”

Mike Cartwright, from the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, agrees that more industrial units of that size are needed.

He said: “There is a pressing need for more sites for development of various sizes and quality across the district. It’s clearly good that there is demand, as that shows Bradford is, indeed, a good place in which to do business; it’s disappointing that that demand cannot be adequately met.

“We work closely with the Council on planning and property matters, and we have stressed to them that, if the objectives within the District’s economic strategy are to be achieved, then this is an obstacle that needs to be addressed.”

Edward Marshall of Frank Marshall Estates said: “We are planning to build small hybrid units, with warehousing space below and offices above.

“We believe that there is a real need for units of this size in Bradford. We are in the age of the entrepreneur with more and more small and start-up companies looking for self-contained space of their own.

"We are intending to provide flexible, affordable and attractive business premises to help companies of this type to grow and prosper."

Mr Marshall added that the first phase had been particularly successful, saying: “All eight units have been successfully let within a year."

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “For the last 30 years the Bradford district has had a very buoyant market for smaller industrial units.

“We have seen from the previous phases at Newhall Business Park that there is still demand for the right product in the right place and the Council we will always work proactively with developers to ensure new developments are delivered to meet this demand.

“We welcome this development and through the employment land allocation process look forward to landowners offering up sites for similar developments.

“Creating space for new and growing businesses will contribute to the delivery of the Council’s Economic Strategy outcomes to create new jobs and support strong economic growth right across the district.”