Local private business TFN Landscapes has completed a £1.8 million re-development of a former near-derelict, neglected site in Hucclecote, saving 100 local jobs and creating a new purpose-built head office.
TFN Landscapes operates across Gloucestershire and the South West providing commercial and domestic landscaping and maintenance services, as well as working in partnership with UK house builders such as Taylor Wimpey, Bloor Homes, Persimmon, Bovis, Bellway and Barratt Homes.
The business moved to Noake Farm near Gloucester in Spring this year and has now completed the transfer of its operations, and all 100 staff.
The business was forced to relocate operations from its previous Longford Estates location where it had been based for many years, after the local council granted planning permission for a large scale residential development on its then main operations site.
TFN’s new site is just two miles from Longford, enabling the business to protect its staff by safeguarding their jobs.
When Noake Farm became available to buy, it was the culmination of a five-year search for the ideal site by TFN’s owner and director, Tom Rimell, who explains: “With its good access, space and agricultural land, Noake Farm was the ideal site for TFN’s relocation and its proximity to our existing location meant we could safeguard the future for our workforce.
“However, Noake Farm had some complex planning issues for us to overcome, notably that the site was in green belt land and there were environmental, highway and drainage considerations.
“Although located in green belt, the site was far from green, with fire damaged buildings, broken concrete and other dilapidated structures littering the site.”
The planning team at Fisher German worked hard with the local authority to achieve a successful planning permission to meet everyone’s wishes.
“Following pre-application discussions with the council, the scheme was reduced in scale to overcome initial visual impact concerns,” adds Tom. “After further successful lobbying, highlighting to the local planning committee the importance of keeping the business in the area, and that the relocation had been enforced as our previous site had been granted planning for residential development, the planning committee granted consent for the development of Noake Farm in May 2016 and so we could begin to plan for our relocation.
“One local councillor has been incredibly helpful and supportive throughout the planning and development process,” he adds.
Not only has TFN transformed the neglected, run-down site, it has completed a desperately needed, extensive clean-up operation to carefully remove and dispose of items and building materials left by the previous owner.
Work began in August 2016 and was completed by Easter 2017. The redevelopment works included the construction of extensive purpose-built, fully equipped offices, workshops, training facilities offering courses in Rolo, Health & Safety, Environmental Awareness and Driver CPC. Alongside is a large trees and shrubs nursery on adjacent formerly agricultural land.
The transformation has delighted nearby residents, as Noake Farm neighbour Matt Middleton explains: “Once planning permission was secured, Tom has steered what is an excellent development of the site, and a distinct, huge improvement on the formerly scruffy, rundown buildings and surrounding areas.
“Throughout the process, Tom has been incredibly accommodating of all Noake Farm’s neighbours,” says Matt, who has lived in Hucclecote for ten years. “He kept all of us up-to-date with status, and listened to our views on what would work for us as neighbours, and not just what was right for his business. Not only has Noake Farm been completely transformed and cleaned-up, the development has enhanced the overall security, appearance and outlook of the whole area.
“Certainly, any initial concerns amongst local residents, have turned out to be unfounded, and Noake Farm is now an impressive, clean and tidy site.”
Property consultants Fisher German and local law firm Lodders together provided TFN with advice on the land and planning permission transaction and negotiations.
Fisher German’s Joe Hiram says: “We are delighted to have helped Tom and TFN to successfully achieve their wish to relocate to the only site which could meet the needs of the business.
“The planning committee at Tewkesbury Council, realised the opportunity to not only tidy up an eyesore, but also secure around 100 jobs. Their positive support was crucial, and TFN has constructed a smart new headquarters and utilised adjoining land too.
“This is very much a great story for the area, with a thriving business that has been able to invest, expand and secure its future, along with those of its employees, all within about two miles of its original operating base. “
Lodders’ partner Alastair Frew adds: “This is a very satisfying conclusion for a local, flourishing business that has secured an excellent new location.
“Tom had the vision to see the potential of the site, which was in a very dilapidated state when he first purchased it. He worked incredibly hard to ensure the local planners appreciated the importance of it to the business’ survival. Tom is to be applauded for the transformation of Noake Farm, that has created quality premises and an ideal location for TFN, and importantly, keeps the business in the area, saving the jobs of all its local employees.”
TFN Landscapes is part of the Smart Cut group of companies that has its headquarters near Pershore, and which acquired the landscape business in 2008.