The redevelopment and rebranding of Grove’s business park would help boost the local economy and ‘make Grove great’, according to its new general manager.
Peter Mols was speaking after Grove Business Park, formerly known as Grove Technology Park, applied for permission to Vale of White District Council last month to expand its premises in a bid to attract new businesses to the area.
The park’s owner, Grove Business Park Limited, wants to demolish seven buildings to make way for eight new ones and a 75-space car park.
Most of the proposed buildings would be offices to help expand the business park.
The site currently accommodates a mixture of office and warehouse buildings, providing about19,000 sq m of floorspace – the new-look park would have 40,000 sq m.
Aside from the latest plan, Mr Mols is already leading a £1.5m redevelopment of Boston House, a serviced office on the park, hoping to attract businesses from places further afield, such as Reading, Swindon, Oxford and Newbury.
This, he said, would help improve the local economy in the Wantage area.
He said: “My primary concern is making sure that the redevelopment goes to plan and that we can attract local businesses.
“The people that are here now are absolutely on board with what we’re doing.
“By and large, they are local people. They have stayed with us for a long period of time because we are very convenient to them but they are all now seeing the benefits of being here.
“What we’re trying to do is to create business and we are trying to make Grove great.”
The owner of Grove Business Park Ltd, David Hill, said the park was “dying on its feet” when his company bought it for £10m last December.
According to Richard Lyall, Mr Hill’s advisor, the project could cost up to £25m if the full redevelopment plan got the go-ahead in the autumn.
Many of the tenants on the park have welcomed the prospect of investment.
Brian Whitford, who lives near Banbury and has been managing director of WBS Group for 18 months, said: “I think it’s got a very exciting future, I really do.
“What I like about them [the new ownership] is that they really do respect the tenants and they understand the problems which we have.
“Since they bought it, they have made it very clear as to what they wanted to achieve out of it and they’re delivering as far as I’m concerned.”
Mr Whitford believes local people and businesses should embrace the future plans.
He added: “Because we sit outside the town, an increase in the size of the park I don’t think will be a nuisance to the town.
“All it will do is benefit it because if you have more businesses here, you have more people using the shops so I think it will be very good for Wantage personally.
“I also think it will be very good for the local economy.”
A Wantage resident of 35 years’ standing, Anita Hutchins, manager of Custom Machine International which has been based in Grove since February 2013, said: “I think it’s exactly what Wantage needs.
“We’ve got a lot of new houses coming up here and we need more businesses.”
A consultation on the plans ended on Monday and a target date for a decision on them has been set by the Vale council for October 5.