Two Kent companies – Automotive Distributors Ltd (ADL) and Scarab Sweepers Ltd – both currently based in Marden, have announced they are both prepared to invest at Waterside Park, the proposed development on land near junction 8 of the M20, near Maidstone.
The prospect of retaining 450 jobs, and attracting hundreds more, is at the heart of proposals to develop manufacturing facilities, warehousing and logistics centres, and high quality international headquarters.
ADL currently employs 230 people and is expected to turn over £75m this year by supplying car parts for Asian and American vehicles to the UK and more than 50 other countries. The company currently exports 51% of its sales, and estimates this will rise to 70% by 2016, with turnover expected to double within the next 10 years.
Scarab Sweepers employs 220 people, with the vast majority being residents of Maidstone, and the surrounding area. The company develops, manufactures and supplies compact and truck-mounted road sweepers and street cleansing vehicles, with 70% of its vehicles exported around the world, with 2013 expected to be a record year in terms of sales.
Mark Northeast, ADL’s Joint Managing Director, said: “After considerable research, which included considering sites in the north of England and the Midlands, we believe Waterside Park offers us the best location to grow our export-driven business. As a result, it took little time to persuade our family-owned German parent company – bilstein group – to invest in the development of a freehold single site operation at Waterside Park.
“The proposed development will improve our international competitiveness, and importantly for the local economy, it would enable us to retain our existing staff and employ a further 150 people over the next three years.”
ADL recently welcomed more than 100 local people to its Recruitment Event, held at the Hilton Maidstone, as part of its drive to recruit a further 50 employees this year.
The two companies are each currently operating out of five separate buildings at Marden, and to improve their commercial efficiency and customer service they each need to be based in a single facility before the end of their current leases.
Nick Yandle, Chief Executive of Gallagher Group, the company proposing Waterside Park, said: “Junction 8’s potential as a strategically important location to support future employment growth for Maidstone has long been identified. We are delighted that these two companies, both long standing Maidstone employers, have each independently recognised the role Waterside Park can play in their ongoing growth and they have each pledged their long term commitment to the county town.
“It is important to note that Waterside Park is not on land identified as part of the former KIG proposals. At 42 acres, it is less than a sixth of the size of KIG, which was 278 acres. As a result of the construction process and landscaping, the buildings within Waterside Park will be largely screened from view.”
Information on the plans for Waterside Park can be found at www.WatersidePark-Maidstone.com and the team will be holding a public exhibition at the Mercure Hotel, Hollingbourne, on Wednesday 26 June between 2pm and 8pm.