A FAST growing manufacturing firm hopes to create jobs by establishing a base on a site in Yorkshire which had been earmarked for a controversial new Tesco store.
Last month, Tesco scrapped plans for a new store in the heart of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, and announced that it planned to sell the site.
The plans had been opposed by many Ilkley residents, who feared the new store would cause traffic congestion and harm smaller firms. Tesco now plans to continue operations from its existing Ilkley store. This decision could create an opportunity for local firm Spooner Industries, which has doubled in size over the last seven years on the back of strong export sales.
Steve Newell, the deputy managing director of the privately-owned company, said: “We’re bursting at the seams and having to outsource more than we want to. We’re interested in a part of the Tesco site.
“We’re very proud to be manufacturing things in Ilkley and shipping them around the world. The sooner we can move the better.”
Spooner Industries, which moved to its current premises on Lower Railway Road in 2008, exports equipment manufactured in Ilkley to Europe, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the US. Spooner has recently established a trading office in China, Spooner Industrial Equipment (Shanghai) Co in order to support its sales growth in the Far East. Spooner has invested more than £4m in engineering, manufacturing and research and development facilities in recent years.
The £30m turnover company has 150 staff and is on the hunt for extra space.
The company believes that the recent announcement by Tesco could provide an ideal opportunity.
There has been speculation that the site which had been earmarked for the Tesco store could be used for housing, but Mr Newell hopes the land will be used for employment purposes.
Mr Newell added: “We hope that we will have the opportunity to continue our growth and meet the demands of our international customers by increasing our office and manufacturing space in Ilkley. We believe that Ilkley will only benefit from the extra jobs and training opportunities that this will create, boosting the local economy, and in turn strengthening our community.”
If Spooner does gain permission to create a base on the site, Mr Newell said the firm might be able to create a significant number of engineering and white collar jobs.
A Bradford Council spokesman said: “This site is allocated on the current local plan as an employment site and, from a planning point of view would be appropriate for another form of development, creating or safeguarding employment.”
A Tesco spokesman confirmed that the retailer had dropped plans for a new store in Ilkley and it is taking offers for the site.