One of the UK’s largest independent-owned bus and coach companies has doubled the size of its Coventry headquarters after investing £3 million in a state-of-the-art depot.
Travel de Courcey has created an impressive 18,000 sq ft building which includes an engineering facility incorporating eight bays to repair the company’s 106 vehicles, wireless vehicle platforms and LED lighting along with offices for staff with the entire operation being powered by biomass wood chip.
Their ambitious plans went ahead after receiving help from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to resolve an issue over the lease at its site off Rowley Drive in Baginton, where it has been based since 1981.
CWLEP Growth Hub Commercial Manager Jeremy Moore and Planning and Development Adviser Bill Blincoe enlisted the support of Coventry MP Geoffrey Robinson and Coventry City Council Deputy Chief Executive (Place) Martin Yardley to arrange a meeting with council officers to agree a new 150-year lease.
Adrian de Courcey, Chief Executive of Travel de Courcey, said the intervention of the Growth Hub was instrumental in the business and its 300 staff staying in Coventry rather than extending its depot in Birmingham.
He said: “We had outgrown our previous building and started to look at other sites but we realised it made sense to stay where we were because it is a perfect location for the majority of our work.
“Part of the depot had a 99-year lease and the other part had a 12-year lease so it didn’t make sense to invest £3 million when we only had 12 years remaining on part of our lease.
“We got in touch with the Growth Hub to explain our problem and they were fantastic.
“They contacted Geoffrey Robinson, who has always been supportive of business development in Coventry, and he spoke to Martin Yardley which led to a meeting with Coventry City Council.
“Phil Costigan from Band Hand Button led the negotiations on our behalf and we have signed a 150-year lease.
“Jeremy, Bill and Craig Humphrey at the Growth Hub have been incredibly supportive and this project wouldn’t have happened without their commitment to our vision and their support in helping us to meet with key stakeholders including Coventry City Council.”
Adrian said Travel De Courcey now have a high-tech depot which has taken 12 months to build to meet their needs in the short and long-term to further grow the business which operates 24 hours a day 364 days a year.
“We previously had a 1980s-style workshop and there was more accidental damage caused in there to our vehicles than out on the roads because space was so tight,” he said.
“We can now fit in eight vehicles and we have more charging points for our electric vehicles. With the way the industry is growing, there will be no diesel vehicles soon and to survive in this industry we have to be at the forefront of electric vehicles.”
Jeremy Moore, of the CWLEP Growth Hub, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, said their work with Travel de Courcey perfectly illustrated their services.
“We are here to support businesses in many ways and one of those can be helping to resolve lease or planning issues by knowing the right people to get in touch with to settle any issues to ensure the growth of a business,” he said.
“It is great that we have played our part in making sure Travel de Courcey which was set- up nearly 50 years ago has not only stayed in the city but is continuing to grow all aspects of its business.”