It would appear that creating new self store depots within the M25 is tougher than ever following an article by Inside Self Storage about Access Self Storage developing a site in Merton, South London.

They have owned the site – previously a plastics factory – for around 6 years, and have had at least one application to convert it into self-store units refused. Now Access have proposed a mixed-use development which doesn’t appear to have a self storage component at all, and the plans appear to have been viewed more favourably. The complex project would involve knocking down the existing building to create around 100 homes, office space, parking places and spots for 193 cycles plus a number of jobs.

With development space in short supply in the capital, perhaps this heralds a new era of self store operators and developers working more closely with local communities and diversifying their business models. Access already offer virtual office services, parking, document management and mailboxes as well as self storage, so possibly weren’t as daunted by creating a mixed use development with ongoing commercial opportunities as some other operators may have been.

This is worth bearing in mind for anyone looking to purchase commercial land in London – getting planning permission may require some lateral thinking and a plan b.