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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
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Focus on... Bridgend Industrial Estate
Friday, 16 March 2012
Keeping local economy on the move...
THE days when industrial estates were made up of factories or distribution outlets – and, therefore, of little interest to the general public – are long gone now. That is particularly true of the Bridgend Industrial Estate, where the wide variety of businesses plying their trade cover almost every sector you could imagine. In fact, it is almost misleading to call it one estate. It is really a series of estates, managed by different estate managers, spread out over a huge area. Drive all around the estate, following the network of link roads, and you could easily notch up about five miles. On that drive around the estate, you will find the motor sector well represented, with three main dealers, tyre specialists and body repair shops. When it comes to your home or garden, the choice is vast, from furniture to tiling, from building materials to bedrooms, and from insulating material to turf for your lawn. There are high-tech companies such as Logica and Spectrum, and companies working in the education sector. Indeed, Bridgend College has its own technology centre on the estate. There are businesses based on health and fitness, and a nursery for working parents. There is even a fancy dress supplier tucked away down one road. Some branches of government have made their home there, with the NHS Local Health Board based on the estate. As you move to the administrative centre, the economic importance of the estate is acknowledged by the presence of several high street banks, and a post office, cafe, newsagent, and a laundry. There is also, at each end of the estate, a pub for those important business lunches. The manufacturing sector has taken one or two hits due to the economic downturn, and Bridgend Creamery fell victim to the volatile market for milk products. The Bridgend Industrial Estate owes its existence to the war effort, being built on land vacated when the massive Royal Ordnance factory (ROF) was decommissioned after the Second World War. The facts and figures of the estate are surprising, as it boasts an estimated 3,000,000 sq ft of commercial space, on an area of 300 acres. There is traditional factory space, distribution centres, and high-quality office developments. The estate certainly benefited from the construction of the M4, and companies still find its good transport links make it a competitive place to do business. Customers also find it an easy place to reach, and every company on the estate has plenty of parking to make it an easy visit. A long-time tenant has been Solar Sunshades, a company that manufactures 80 per cent of its window blinds, providing employment for 23 local people. Huw Davies told The GEM: “We have operated successfully from the estate for so long because of the proximity of the motorway, meaning that we can service customers from west Wales to across the Severn Bridge. “Also, anyone visiting our showroom finds the easy parking a big plus factor.” Paul Ezard, of Town and Country Bedrooms, is a relative newcomer to the estate, and has just celebrated his first year. Town and Country is, of course, a well-established business in the area, but the bedroom store was a new venture, and Paul feels that the estate has proved to be an excellent place to show off the vast product range that he offers. Denis Theodore, of Theodore Reclamation, a family business that has been trading on the estate for 20 years, said that he had been through good times and hard times. He said: “It’s not easy now but our figures are staying good. Customers benefit because we have to keep the prices low to keep their business.” In contrast, NFU Mutual has just moved on to the estate, after outgrowing their two branch offices in Cowbridge and Laleston. David Harris said: “We’ve only been open a short while, but our customers are delighted by the ease of access and the good parking. They are also impressed with our new premises. “Some have commented that they are taking the opportunity to pick up items from other businesses on the estate.” The Central Park Estate is owned by Robert Hitchins of Gloucester, and is jointly marketed by Cooke and Arkwright, and Jones, Lang, LaSalle. Jeremy Symons of Cooke and Arkwright was very positive about the future of the estate. He said: “We have recently secured a new tenant on the estate, Edmundson Electrical, and Biotec, which is already a tenant, has taken a further two units. “In fact, Robert Hitchins has been so pleased with the take up that it is planning to construct more units.” He added that the estate was well placed to take advantage of the Welsh Government’s drive to bring more high-tech ‘life science’ companies to Wales.
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Sir Ray Tindle
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