Rutland County Council has agreed to invest a further £500,000 into Oakham Enterprise Park to build two new industrial units.
Oakham Enterprise Park - the former Ashwell Prison - was bought by the council from the Ministry of Justice in 2012 and has since been converted into a thriving hub for small and medium-sized businesses.
The site is now operating at close to full capacity and further investment is needed in order to accommodate new tenants.
The council has agreed to release £500,000 of capital funding to support the next expansion phase at the park. Funding will initially be used to construct two new industrial and storage units, each with an internal floor space of 10,000sqft. The units will be built on brownfield land at the centre of the business park.
Council leader Terry King (Con) said: “Oakham Enterprise Park is a real success story and makes a significant contribution to Rutland’s local economy. Having purchased the site for £1.4m in 2012 and invested money in the facilities there, OEP is now valued at around at around £6.25m and is home to a wide range of businesses that could not otherwise base themselves in the county.
“The council regularly receives enquiries from businesses seeking commercial accommodation, while our own research shows there is a big need for light industrial units and basic workshops in Rutland. With a waiting list for some units at OEP and firm interest from several companies seeking premises in excess of 10,000sqft, the time is right to undertake a strategic expansion of the site.”
To date, about 150 jobs are understood to have been created or safeguarded as a result of the park, with 104 of the site’s 105 business units currently let. Since 2014 the Enterprise Park has also generated significant new income for the council, including about £100,000 per year in business rates.
Coun King added: “There is clear evidence to support further development of OEP. Several tenants have said they will need space to grow in the next 12 months and we must be able to respond quickly and efficiently to meet the needs of businesses seeking to expand, as well as those who want to move our area.
“OEP is a long-term project generating a healthy revenue stream from rental incomes, business rates and other initiatives. By investing in the site this way we can ensure that it continues to be an asset to businesses, the local economy and Rutland as a whole.”
Around 35 per cent of the firms at the park are start-up companies and a further 41 per cent of tenants are established but have come from outside Rutland. The final 24 per cent of tenants are existing Rutland businesses, the majority of which have moved to the park in order to expand their operations.