Agencies come together to assist Bury Farm businesses
Press Release: 08/06/2015
Businesses based on a small industrial estate in Burridge which is earmarked for housing development will benefit from the combined support of two local authorities, a housing developer and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
Work is already in hand by the agencies to build a complete picture of the 50 businesses based at Bury Farm, off the Botley Road in Burridge, so that they can develop a package of support for the months ahead.
The old farm buildings have been used for around 30 years to house activities ranging from boat restoration and film scenery-making to concrete crushing and car repairs. However, the site was identified some years back as part of a major development area – known as ‘North of Whiteley’ – which will provide up to 3,500 new homes for the Winchester District. It was included in the District’s Local Plan following widespread public consultation, and the Plan was adopted in March 2013 after rigorous examination by a Government-appointed inspector.
The businesses at Bury Farm are very fond of their premises, which provide convenient, flexible and affordable workspace in a friendly environment. They say that moving to make way for housing will be difficult and costly.
Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council are keen to protect the jobs and businesses currently located at Bury Farm. A planning application is currently under consideration for the whole North of Whiteley area, and the two local authorities have come together with developer Crest Nicholson and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to assess what support they can offer in order to make life easier for the businesses.
At a meeting last week, they discussed measures such as a professional property search service for the businesses to use free of charge. Other possibilities included practical help with relocation logistics and specialist advice to re-establish and grow the businesses in their new homes.
Cllr James Byrnes, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Local Economy, said:
Walking round the site, I have been impressed by the specialist nature of many of these businesses. We want to keep them in the local area if we can, and build long-term relationships with them. My officers have already met and talked to many of them, and will continue to stay in touch.
Cllr Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, added:
We have ascertained that Crest Nicholson and the Solent LEP are both keen to work with the local authorities to provide assistance, and I am confident that we will be able to announce what form this assistance will take in early July. We will do what we can to assist these companies in finding and moving to new premises.