Banbury motorsport firm Prodrive has released plans for new landmark premises alongside the M40.
Prodrive chairman David Richards and his 500-strong staff held a party last Friday to mark the end of the firm’s 28-year stay in Acorn Way – and then released details of new premises to be based south of junction 11 of the M40. Work on the new site is expected to begin as early as next month and be ready by March, with staff continuing to work in temporary buildings in Acorn Way while work is being carried out.
Mr Richards said: “There was the odd tear in the eye of some of the staff as they have been at the Acorn Way site for a very long time.
“We have had some very happy memories and I am sure we will look back on our time there from our prominent new site south of the junction 11.” Prodrive moved to Acorn Way in 1986 and developed a facility that became home to the World Championship winning Subaru World Rally Team from 1990-2008.
Staff have moved out of the main building on site during recent weeks ahead of the start of work on the new multi-million pound Gateway retail development next month.
Mr Richards added there were several sites the business was looking at before deciding on the new location, including the old Hella site which was the subject of a Prodrive planning application to Cherwell District Council in 2012.
But he said the option to have a new build in a location so close to the M40 was a key factor in the new location.
He said: “There were three options we were looking at – and one of them was to modify the old Hella building we purchased to suit our needs. But it is extremely large at about 200,000 square feet, which is double our current requirements, plus it would cost a lot of money to change it around.
“The choice we have made is a new build with Barwood Developments, which will suit our proposal very well and is much larger than what we currently have.”
The new building has about 30 per cent more space for the motorsport firm to expand into should it need to, but Mr Richards said no decision has been made just yet.
He said: “I think it will give everyone the chance of a fresh start and the opportunity to restructure the business, which we will continue to do later this year.
“We will also take the opportunity to refinance the firm and look at how we can make it more effective in the future.”
The controversial Gateway retail development to be built on Prodrive’s Acorn Way site was approved by Cherwell District Council in 2012 and given final go ahead in 2013 after a judicial review was rejected.
The out-of-town retail park will provide 285,000 square feet of retail space next to the M40.
Flagship stores already signed up include Primark, M&S and Next. It is expected to open late next year.