Rising to new heights at Skypark: £20m investment into South West manufacturing well underway

Stovax & Gazco has been a long-standing business based at Devon’s capital city, Exeter. Having signed a 15-year lease at Skypark, work is well underway on their brand-new purpose-built manufacturing facility. Partnering with St Modwen, a leading logistics developer and manager, the Skypark Development Partnership, and Glencar as a main contractor, the site is a hive of activity. The impressive 205,000 sq ft structure is now clearly visible from the roadside – this rapid progress in construction signifies a new era for the Stovax Heating Group’s approach to manufacturing in the South West.

A leading manufacturer of high-quality stoves and fireplaces, exporting to over 25 countries with a range of woodburning, gas, and electric heating appliances, Stovax & Gazco has been operating for 40 years, employing over 300 staff local to their Exeter facility.

With ambitious plans to continue a rich history of growth, Stovax & Gazco aim to build upon their position as a trusted brand in the premium heating and decorative fireplace market. Commenting on the work in progress, Alistair Compton, Managing Director at Stovax & Gazco said: “This is more than just a new building for us. We’ve outgrown our current premises scattered across Sowton, and this move crucially allows us a premium, state of the art, sustainable space to facilitate the expansion of our manufacturing and business operations under one roof.” The building is set for completion in June 2022.

Over the next 20 years, Skypark is predicted to create up to 6,500 new jobs with a significant positive impact on the local economy. Dedicated to opening opportunities for local people, Caroline Carr, HR Director, explains that the new facilities “allow us to keep our operation in the heart of Exeter and to preserve employment for our longstanding, talented team of staff, whose hard work, expertise and innovative thinking are at the very core of the Stovax & Gazco brand ethos.”

Paul Swan, Group Finance Director at Stovax & Gazco commented: “Along with all the benefits to the local economy and logistical improvements for the business, we’re currently in discussions surrounding green travel and transport provisions at the facility. This is a huge step forwards, and we are excited by the potential here that strongly aligns with our ongoing drive for sustainability.”

The building has been designed to the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard, putting the proposed facility in the top 10% of UK non-domestic buildings in terms of sustainability performance. BREEAM rated developments are more sustainable environments that enhance the wellbeing of the people who work in them, whilst helping to protect natural resources.

Ian Kingscott, Group Technical Director at Stovax & Gazco said: “The new facility will allow us to continue to invest in our world-leading Research & Development functions, with high focus given to renewable energy heating sources such as electric and hydrogen, all of which are part of our NIBE parent company’s ongoing vision and commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.”

Attending the site to view the progress, Councillor Rufus Gilbert commented: “What a pleasure it was to join Stovax at this monumental day celebrating another success story, not only for Stovax & Gazco but Devon and Skypark. I was taken aback by the sheer scale of this enormous building rising out of the ground. It has been a great privilege for Devon County Council to have played such a part in making it happen.”

James Irwin-Singer, Senior Development Manager at St. Modwen Logistics, commented: “We have worked closely with Stovax & Gazco on the core building specification all the way through to their fit-out requirements. It’s fantastic to be delivering a state-of-the-art building that meets the high sustainability criteria that Stovax & Gazco, St. Modwen and Skypark all aspire to – particularly the connection into a nearby district heating system and delivering BREEAM Excellent standards, which are fairly rare – it’s great to be able to incorporate these into the building design. The completed project will provide Stovax & Gazco a long-standing sustainable new home allowing them to provide further jobs to Exeter and the surrounding area.”

Richard Roberts, Senior Project Manager for Glencar Construction said: “It’s been exciting to work with Stovax & Gazco – we’re delighted to be able to help to create a great space to produce great products.”