The Best Shipping Container Retail Parks In The UK

There has been a boom in the popularity of industrial design and architecture in the last few years. As a result of this, shipping container retail parks are appearing in popular locations across the UK.

Shipping container retail parks offer affordable units to independent businesses. They also provide a quirky destination for people to shop, eat, and drink with friends. It’s no wonder that this style of retail park is increasing in popularity.

What Is A Traditional Retail Park?

A traditional retail park is a collection of shop units with a large onsite car park. Retail parks are usually located at the edge of cities or towns. The parks contain a range of flagship and large chain stores, a supermarket and/or food outlets.

What Is A Container Retail Park?

As the name suggests, a container retail park is a smaller-scale retail park made up of shipping containers. The containers are converted into shops, restaurants, or even live music venue areas. Larger container retail parks will have two or three containers stacked on top of each other to create more storeys and retail space.

For business owners looking to step up from a home business or market stall, container retail parks are a great alternative. They are much cheaper than a bricks and mortar unit, but still as flexible as an outdoor stall in terms of the lease contract. They can be rented with a flexible lease rather than being tied into a contract that spans over many years. As a container has less floor space, they are also much more cost-effective.

Why Are Companies Using Containers On Retail Parks?

Container parks often have a temporary lease on the land of anywhere between 5-15 years. Some Council-owned land is sat unused, so authorities may be willing to temporarily lease the area to generate extra income for the area. This type of short lease is ideal for a container park as the units can be transported to alternative locations once the tenancy runs out. The containers themselves are durable, and can withstand all sorts of weather. This ensures vendors and their customers are kept sheltered and dry while browsing the container park.

Blue shipping container side view

Containers are cost-effective. In comparison, it’s expensive to build multiple bricks and mortar units, plus there may be delays in project lead time while waiting for planning permissions. Containers are much cheaper alternatives. Some container builds are classed as temporary structures, so councils may not need the same extensive planning permission. If you are looking into creating a container retail park, we do highly recommend getting in touch with your local council to find out what planning permission you might need before starting your project.

Companies are also opting for converted shipping container units as they offer full flexibility. For example, you can update the colour of the container by having it repainted or install windows and hatches to create a light, spacious unit. They can easily be moved to new locations or sold on, so contractors can even transport their retail park to a different town or city. Thanks to this flexibility, potential unit lease holders have the ability to transform a container into a functional unit in a choice of popular locations.

Where Are The Best Container Retail Parks?

Silverdale Enterprise Centre, Staffordshire

Silverdale Enterprise Centre consists of twelve 40ft self-contained shipping containers. These units have been converted and offer office and workshop space for start-ups and small businesses. The centre also has a shared 30ft welfare/toilet block to create a practical extension for the existing site.

BoxPark, Shoreditch

Installed in Shoreditch by Roger Wade in 2011, BoxPark was the first UK container retail park. The business now consists of three container parks in central London locations. The award-winning retail park provides visitors with a range of well-known brands, independent shops and convenient street food outlets.

Stack, Newcastle

Stack is a vibrant container park full of street food vendors, bars and local businesses. It has been recently granted an extended license, meaning it will stay on its current site until at least 2014. Stack has also recently opened a sister site in Seaburn.

Hatch, Manchester

Manchester’s Hatch consists of a central courtyard surrounded by a mix of independent retailers, breweries, and restaurants all housed in repurposed shipping containers. Hatch also hosts a variety of events and live music acts.

Spark, York

Spark is home to a variety of vendors, including food, drink, shops, a community theatre, event space, and art exhibitions all operating from shipping containers. It’s a unique space that has been created and looked after by the community.

Cargo, Bristol

Cargo in Bristol is a container park made up from a host of independent eateries and shops. Cargo forms part of the larger harbour side community of Wapping Wharf, and attracts many visitors.

If you’re interested in setting up your own container retail park, get in touch with our conversions team today and we can advise on the best containers for your project.

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