Former Alcan site sold

MORE THAN 1,000 jobs could eventually be created following the sale of two major development sites in prime Banbury locations.

Financial institution Standard Life Investments has bought the 30-acre former Alcan site and plans to build warehouses suitable for storage and distribution companies.

And a 13-acre site next to junction 11 of the M40 has also been sold for 3 million.

Banbury MP Tony Baldry said: "One of Banbury's greatest advantages is its geographical location between the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, between the Thames Valley and the West Midlands.

"We are ideally placed for any kind of business from manufacturing to servicing.

"I think it's fantastic Standard Life is investing millions of pounds in making the Alcan site available for businesses to move in."

The historic Alcan site – which is currently cleared of all buildings apart from the listed offices at the front – will be developed to provide 600,000 sq ft of modern warehouse units.

However, work is not expected to start for at least a year because the standard practice of decontaminating the site has to be carried out first.

Andrew Gilkes, 57, who worked at Alcan for almost 22 years, was among those made redundant from the factory in 2008 and has been able to find work since.

"I still feel sad about the factory's closure," he said. "And I can't believe how quickly it has gone. All I have left now is my memories."

But he added: "If it is going to create jobs, I am all for it."

Another former worker Garry Hudson, who is also out of work, said the sale of the factory had made it hit home to him that the factory was gone for good.

"It is a sad day for Banbury," he said. "It would be nice if the companies that move into the warehouses offer former employees first refusal when it comes to offering the new jobs."

Roger Waddams, spokesman for GVA Grimley Limited which acted as the selling agent, said: "We were delighted that this important and sensitive site to the people of Banbury has been bought by a reputable company such as Standard Life, which will take steps to protect the War Memorial gardens on the site."

The 13-acre site next to the M40 has been sold to Albion Land and will be used to build industrial warehouses from 50,000 -220,000 sq ft

The scheme is expected to create 450 jobs.

Albion Land director Simon Parsons said: "Albion Land is delighted to have purchased such a strategic site along the M40 in Banbury. This is one of the few locations between London and Birmingham able to accommodate a large footprint. Initial occupier interest is encouraging and we look forward to an early development start."

White Commercial acted for Kennet Properties in the disposal and has been retained by Albion Land as Joint Agents.

Chris White, managing director of White Commercial, said: "This is an excellent development site due to its location on the M40 and ability to cater for large buildings. The purchase is one of the first meaningful land development deals since the recession started."

Alcan, known as The Ally, was finally trading under the Sapa name when it closed in 2008. It was demolished last year following the loss of nearly 400 jobs.