Supporting the logistics sector

A training and education facility

The UK’s largest rail-served logistics park
  • Awarded
  • Category
    Economic Prosperity
  • Outcome
    Regional winner
Interior of the Hub at DIRFT (Photo by Prologis UK Ltd)

Proof of concept

Delivering a unique education and training facility

This award was received by Lichfields for The Hub at DIRFT, a unique education and training facility located at the UK’s largest rail-served logistics park, Prologis RFI DIRFT. The Hub  supports the significant role that the logistics sector plays in the local, regional and national economy by providing individuals of any age, background or education with access to practical training opportunities. 

  • The Hub is a 9,551 sq ft training and education facility
  • It will train up young people and the unemployed to meet the significant logistical challenges associated with a doubling of online shopping during the pandemic
  • In the UK, the PWLTP aims to train 11,000 people in West Northamptonshire and the wider South East Midlands area by 2026.

Key facts

Occupancy rate in year one
9,551 sq ft
training and education facility
Occupancy rate in year one
local people to receive training
Occupancy rate in year one
2.6 million
jobs in UK transport and logistics
Stakeholders at the Hub (© Sam Frost)

Public benefit

How/why did the project benefit the public?

Logistics is a key employer nationally and provides a wide array of jobs at various skill levels in both warehouse and office environments. It also increasingly requires positions in managerial, administrative and high-tech occupations including electrical and mechanical engineering and IT. In the short and medium term, it is likely to be one of the biggest employment growth sectors. The Hub at DIRFT will therefore make a positive impact in terms of both economic growth and social value by promoting the advancement of skills, expertise and capabilities in the sector.

The PWLTP is already assisting those in society who really need help by providing access to fully funded courses that will enable them to gain a recognised industry qualification and kickstart their careers in the logistics and supply chain sector. For example, it already engages with the rehabilitation of prisoners in conjunction with Release on Temporary Licence, works with care leavers schools and education providers, helps with reskilling, and promotes careers for women looking to work in logistics.

What were local planners looking to achieve on the project?

  • To support the delivery of a ground-breaking project that would bring significant economic benefits to the area.
  • To act as enablers for the creation of a training facility with high quality design at its heart.
  • To support the creating of a training facility that would skill up thousands of young people and the unemployed in the local area.
Participants at the Hub

Justifying the need

How were local planners essential to the project's success

Planning officers were integral to the design decisions made on the project and worked very closely with Lichfields with whom they had a very positive and long-standing relationship. it was the collaboration between the client, project team and planners that transformed the facility from simply fulfilling its functional purpose to becoming a truly ground-breaking project.

The joined-up approach to planning within the project team and co-operation with planning officers ensured the project was implemented and delivered within the required timescales. The timescales for commencement were urgent due to the need for the facility to be delivered in parallel with other buildings on the wider site and the positive working relationship with local planners helped make that happen.

Economic prosperity

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Read more about how planners can contribute to economic prosperity.
Economic prosperity