PART of a former munitions factory has been transformed into new business units which have attracted strong interest despite the pandemic.

The development of five small warehouse units has been completed at Thorp Arch Estate near Wetherby, with just one unit still available on the 385-acre site.

Construction work on the latest 10,693 sq ft scheme, which is close to the estate’s entrance and comprises units 155 to unit 158, started in November 2019 and completed at the end of the summer.

Estate owner, Patrizia Hanover Property Unit Trust, went ahead with the £700,000 scheme, which redeveloped part of the original 1941 wartime munitions factory after the existing estate tenant, kitchen and bedroom furniture retailer, Buywell Interiors, pre-let the 2,456 sq ft Unit 155.

The other units have been let to businesses, including Silverfox, Glass Living Doors and Shield Access Solutions.

The rapid lettings mean that the only new-build unit available on the estate is at the 9,000 sq ft Unit 7 - a seven-metre high warehouse with an air-conditioned office.

Buywell Interiors, run by husband-and-wife team, Michelle and Simon Procter, has been on the Estate for 12 years but relocated to the new scheme to gain more showroom space for its kitchen and bedroom furniture range.

Michelle said: “Our new unit is warm, bright and airy and the perfect location and environment to display our range of kitchens and bedroom furniture. It is visible from the main entrance road and will hopefully attract lots of passing trade, as well as being easy to find for our existing customers.

“Being equidistant to Leeds, Harrogate and York, and close to the motorway network with good parking makes it a fantastic location for visitors and deliveries.”

Tim Munns, director of estate manager, Wharfedale Property Management, said: “Despite the considerable challenges from Covid-19, the latest units were completed within budget and fully let within weeks which is testament to the skill and perseverance all those involved in the development.

"In spite of the pandemic, demand for warehouse and distribution space remains strong with the only new unit available being Unit 7, Ash Way III.”

The two-million sq ft Thorp Arch Estate is the base for more than 170 businesses, from start-ups to large Plcs, operating in local, national and international markets and employing more than 2,000 people.

The contractor for the latest scheme was Arcon Construction, while property consultants and building surveyors, LHL Group, acted as the contract administrator and project manager.