Prodrive reviews plans due to Gateway delays

MHBG-30-01-14 Prodrive''David Richards of Prodrive ENGNNL00220140127172309
MHBG-30-01-14 Prodrive''David Richards of Prodrive ENGNNL00220140127172309

Motorsport firm Prodrive is set to submit plans for new premises in Banbury as work finally gets under way on the controversial Gateway retail park.

With building work on the multi-million pound Banbury Gateway project due to begin at Prodrive’s current site in Acorn Way in August, the company is considering its options due to delays surrounding its original plan to move to the former Hella site in Noral Way.

Prodrive chairman David Richards said: “We will move out of part of our current site in the summer and initially consolidate into other areas of the site. It’s a quart in a pint pot, but we will remain there until the end of March.

“Rebuilding the Hella site itself is going to take rather longer than we thought to do it properly, so we have now got options of a new build – one down by the motorway on a Barwood Developments site and another new build on the Hella site.

“A new build looks to be the way to go in the short term as it will be up and running quicker and will allow breathing space to consider how we develop the Hella site properly.”

Prodrive has already received outline planning permission for both of the potential new builds and expects to submit full applications as early as next week.

The applications come after a High Court appeal brought by the owners of Castle Quay shopping centre and Banbury Cross retail park to stop the Banbury Gateway development was finally rejected last month.

Mr Richards said: “We have finally won all planning 
appeals after a laborious process that went on two years longer than we were hoping. I don’t like to use the term abuse of the legal system because it is there for a reason, but the legal system should not be used like that and the government is going to change the rules because it is creating bottle necks all around the country.”

The delay to the Banbury Gateway development – first approved by Cherwell District Council in March 2012 – means Prodrive was forced to extend a lease on current premises in Milton Keynes.

Mr Richards added: “That operation should have been in Banbury by now – 180 jobs should have been in Banbury, but it is around four years now before we can consider moving it.”

Building work on proposed new Prodrive premises could begin in June this year, with staff in occupation by March next year.