Birmingham-based Stoford Developments has completed three Multi-Purpose Test Centres (MPTCs) worth £12 million for the Driving Standards Agency.
Stoford delivered three new MPTCs over a year in time for the recent introduction of practical off-road tests for learner motorcyclists.
The developer capped its success by selling on its investment in the sites at Birmingham’s Garretts Green, Burton-on-Trent and Basildon, even before gaining planning consent, with a 6.2 per cent yield.
Stoford achieved the DSA’s challenging requirements of delivering affordable sites that were large and level enough for safe manoeuvring, close to adequate test routes, and within easy reach of most candidates. With the help of Birmingham architects Webb Gray, Stoford also provided an energy efficient building at each site to act as a base for local examiners conducting the off-road tests.
The three MPTCs are among 66 throughout the UK that have gone live with the new test programme for motorcyclists, who currently suffer the highest fatality rate among road users with 6,379 deaths or serious injuries recorded in 2007.
Stoford teamed up with engineers BWB, M&E service provider ESC and quantity surveyors Bache Treharne to remediate all three brownfield sites before carrying out detailed traffic and job assessments followed by public consultations to successfully gain planning consent.
The £6 million 3.5-acre site at Granby Avenue, Garretts Green was acquired from Birmingham City Council with support from Advantage West Midlands and incorporates a new 15,000 sq ft local office for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), preserving 120 jobs.
The 4.5-acre site at Paycocke Road in Basildon, which also includes a 50,000 sq ft speculative warehouse development, involved substantial remediation and the protection of a watercourse.
The 2.5-acre site that Stoford purchased from Johnson Controls at Wellington Park, Burton involved not only removing contamination but also raising its new 2,000 sq ft test centre building out of a flood plain.
Stoford has sold on the 25-year leases for the Birmingham and Basildon sites to investment manager Topland, and the lease for the Burton site to Invista Real Estate Investment Management.
Tony Nash, Stoford Director, said: “We are delighted to have been able to use our public sector experience and expertise to develop three multi-purpose test centres that should help improve the safety of motorcyclists.” He added: “Finding suitable sites and delivering them precisely to the requirements of the client and the planners was an extremely challenging proposition but one that we were able to accomplish successfully with the help of our partners.
“The value of the work was reflected in our success in achieving an impressive 6.2 per cent yield for all three schemes in a sliding market.”
Stoford has over ten years’ experience in public sector projects. Having been responsible for developing new Inland Revenue offices in Coventry and a regional office for Defra in West Wales, it is awaiting planning permission to build new offices for Staffordshire County Council in Stafford town centre.