Business parks received a spirited defence from some of the top names in the sector at Offices 08 in Newport today.

Occupiers continue to look for sustainable communities and business parks provide this, if they are well-managed, the experts said.

Jim Johnston, UK business parks head at Goodman, said: 'It's about creating a place where people want to live, work and have fun, mixed use, sustainable communities.'

Rick De Blaby, chief executive of MEPC, said: 'Business parks are as varied as real estate itself. You don't build shopping centres for retailers, you build them for shoppers and the retailers come. It's the same dynamic.'

Transport has been a sticking point for business park developers trying to prove the sustainable credentials of their business parks, but De Blaby said recent surveys had shown this was an oldfashioned view.

'56% travel to Milton Park by car,' he said. 'The notion that 90% come by car is just not the case.'

Guy Marsden, managing director of Highbridge, added: 'The perception is that business parks leave a Green footprint like Godzilla. The truth is they don't.'

Jeremy Bates, head of national offices at Savills, said: 'The future of business parks has considerable merit.'

Ian Sutcliffe, Segro UK managing director, said: 'Kevin Costner was told, if you build it, they will come.

'This clearly works for baseball pitches in Iowa but not business parks in the Thames Valley.

'We want customers to want to be on business park because of the sense of place created before they've seen the size of the floorplate or the price of the square feet. If we don't do this people are simply not going to come.'

Jim Johnston, UK business parks head at Goodman

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