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Cities set for new breed of e-commerce warehouses

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The growth in Internet shopping looks set to deliver Newcastle upon Tyne practice Browne Smith Baker contracts worth at least £14 million for a string of roadside distribution stations where the public can pick up goods ordered online.

The practice has been appointed to roll out 35 of the E-stop buildings on main roads in major cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham and London and has produced a generic design for a 500m 2building with a forecourt costing £400,000.

The project represents the development of a new breed of buildings inspired by a trebling of spending on the Internet in the UK last year alone, with 10 per cent of households shopping online, according to a recent survey.

Partner Andrew Drewell said that the buildings would feature elements of petrol station design in the canopy as well as of drive-through fast food outlets.'The buildings will be on main roads, like petrol stations, and will be bright and friendly so people feel comfortable in their cars, 'Drewell said.

After placing an order on the Internet with one of the retailers which uses E-stop, the goods will be dispatched to the roadside station to be picked up.

The architects do not think that the project will run into planning problems which might be expected of retailers building outside towns. The stations will be classified as distribution centres.

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