The transformation of Greenham Business Park from an abandoned military base to the largest strategic employment site in West Berkshire has been nothing less than inspirational.
Being located in Newbury, close to the M3 and the M4 – and just a short journey from both Newbury and Basingstoke railway stations – undoubtedly has its advantages, but Greenham Business Park has a few other aces up its sleeve that make it a very attractive place for the business community.
Flexibility is key
Run by the Greenham Trust, Greenham Business Park’s success is largely down to its ability to offer smart, flexible, affordable office space, which is attracting a growing number of multinational brands including Marshall, English Provender, Norma and Kawasaki.
The park also appeals to smaller organisations, supplying a variety of high-quality offices in a range of sizes, making it home to entrepreneurs, small enterprises and growing local businesses like lock manufacturer Codelocks.
Codelocks chairman and founder Desmond Ryan said: “Our purpose-built facility on the Greenham Business Park has helped us to expand our overseas markets and introduce new products that use the latest electronic technology, to help customers better control access in buildings.”
For those businesses looking for something unique to really satisfy their needs, Greenham also offers a design-and-build service.
Greenham Trust chief executive Chris Boulton said: “We work closely with all our residents at the park to make sure their office space works for them.
“But where a business requires something specific, we work with them to design and build the work space they need.
“All our buildings meet BREAM standards for sustainability and new-builds incorporate electric vehicle charge points, bike racks and solar panels where appropriate.”
Roc Technologies chief executive Matt Franklin said: “We are genuinely excited to be able to create a bespoke facility that will be a great place for our colleagues to work and the perfect place to showcase our innovative solutions to customers and partners.
“We work with many clients in secure and sensitive industries so it was critical that we could work with the park to design a new HQ that could support some demanding security requirements.
“As a business, our roots are in Newbury and we remain committed to the Newbury area through this investment in our new headquarters here.
“We are a fast-growing business and it was important to us that we are strategically located along the M4 corridor and of course in a location where we can access a fantastic source of local talent.”
Fast track planning
News that West Berkshire Council granted Local Development Order (LDO) status to Greenham Business Park in early 2019, plus being shortlisted for an award for promoting economic growth in the 2019 Planning Awards, will undoubtedly tempt more businesses to the site.
For any company wishing to build or extend their offices at the business park, the LDO provides a framework for permitted development, drastically reducing the risk, time and cost involved in a traditional planning application.
Mr Boulton said: “One of our resident businesses is looking to double the size of its existing building and it took just 21 days to secure permission for the extension from the council.
“We have the space to build commercial properties at the park and now we have a fast-track planning process.
“This saves our resident businesses valuable time and money that they can invest into growing their business further.”
Facilities and environment
Greenham is a beautifully-landscaped business park surrounded on three sides by the Greenham Common Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
For those wanting some fresh air and time out of the office, it is ideal for walking, cycling and running.
The park also offers its enterprise centre to support business start-ups and young companies looking for short-term or temporary accommodation.
With options including industrial, storage, workshop or office space plus administrative support services, it is an attractive location for anyone starting a new business.
Amenities on the business park include a children’s nursery and a recently opened café at Honesty at The Base, which is open seven days a week.
There are also fitness businesses on the park for residents to access.
The Base opened in early 2019 and combines the convenience of an on-site café with a visual arts gallery, classroom and artists’ studios.
The gallery has already proven popular, attracting more than 1,300 visitors to view an exhibition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year within the first two months of opening.
With a rolling series of craft activities, workshops and talks for young and old and more exhibitions scheduled, it is a fantastic resource for park residents and the public.
Working for the common good
Greenham Business Park was established in 1997 using a unique business model that is proving to be increasingly successful.
The aim of the park is to maximise income from its property holdings for distribution to local charitable causes.
It has successfully grown revenues from less than £0.5m in 1997 to more than £5.3m in 2018 and has already donated around £40m to 3,000 charities.
Its increasing success and unwavering focus on serving the needs of the business community and investing in the local community is attracting international attention.
The trust recently hosted a visit from a South Korean delegation looking to redevelop a large ex-military base while replicating the Greenham model.
The park is also attracting interest from investors, securing finance to further develop the site.
With funding in place and the ability to fast-track planning, the continuing transformation of Greenham Business Park looks set to accelerate in 2019 and beyond.
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