Expansion plan could create 200 new jobs at Thurleigh

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More than 200 new jobs could be created at Thurleigh Airfield Business Park as part of a major investment by owner St Modwen and SMH Fleet Solutions Ltd.

A planning application has been submitted by St Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, for a new 40,000 sq ft workshop with offices and new hardstanding for vehicle logistics and storage.

SMH, a specialist vehicle management and logistics firm, has had a base at Thurleigh Airfield Business Park since 2001 but is now looking to invest in a modern facility which will become the central hub for its business in Bedfordshire and the rest of the UK. The new workshop and offices will be used for the inspection, repair and refurbishment of vehicles.

The planning application includes the retention of existing hardstanding and the creation of a further 18 acres for vehicle storage.

SMH currently employs 27 staff on the Business Park and estimates that the proposed development will generate employment opportunities for up to 209 new staff at the site within three years.

Thurleigh Airfield Business Park has become a thriving business park since St Modwen acquired the former airfield from the Ministry of Defence in 1996.

Thurleigh Airfield is home to more than 20 companies, predominantly operating in the vehicle processing and logistics sector of the automotive industry.

Nick Smith, development manager at St. Modwen, said that the new workshop development for SMH was important to secure long-term investment and jobs for the Borough:

“Thurleigh Airfield Business Park is a major source of employment in Bedfordshire, the prominent use on site being vehicle logistics and storage for the automotive industry.

“This new facility will enable SMH to remain in the borough and will secure SMH’s long-term future at Thurleigh, creating a significant number of new jobs in the process.”

Martin McAuley, Managing Director at SMH Fleet Solutions added:

“This exciting new development will provide SMH with an industry-leading facility and create high value employment opportunities in the local area.”