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Steel firm step closer to relocation as outline housing plan approved

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An artist's impression of the 167-home plans for the REIDSteel site in Fairmile Road, Christchurch
An artist's impression of the 167-home plans for the REIDSteel site in Fairmile Road, Christchurch

A CHRISTCHURCH steel firm is on the move after being given the green light to build 167 homes on its site.

The outline plans for its base off Fairmile Road were approved by BCP Council, which means REIDsteel is one step closer to a proposed relocation near Bournemouth Airport which the firm said would safeguard its 130-strong workforce as well as create more jobs.

Managing director Simon Boyd said the approval was a “fantastic decision” and a great start to 2020 for the company.

“It will unlock the other steps which we need to follow for our relocation to the new manufacturing facility near Bournemouth Airport.

“The new site is absolutely vital for the future of our company and will allow us to significantly increase productivity, create more jobs and grow the business over the coming years while cutting our carbon footprint.”

He added: “The housing development will leave a legacy of much-needed homes after we relocate.

Mr Boyd said the regeneration of REIDsteel’s site would move heavy industry away from the town centre, cut heavy traffic movements and reduce noise and disruption for neighbours.

The outline plans approved by the council’s planning committee include a mix of two and three-bedroom houses plus one and two-bedroom flats and parking.

The scheme also includes financial contributions of nearly £1m towards a new country park at the nearby Two Riversmeet leisure centre, monitoring of heathland, as well as a new pedestrian crossing on Fairmile Road.

Councillors voted in favour of the scheme despite opposition from a handful of members.

Mr Boyd said that while selling the site will contribute towards the firm’s new facility, it is unlikely to meet more than 50% of land and construction costs.

A separate planning application for the proposed new site has been lodged with the council and is due to be decided.

REIDsteel, which celebrated its centenary last year, designs, manufactures and supplies steel buildings across the world. It has exported to more than 140 countries to date. For more information visit www.reidsteel.com.

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