Plans for huge business park expansion near Harborough could create hundreds of jobs

Aifield Business ParkAifield Business Park
Aifield Business Park
It would see two drive-throughs, 16 units and one large industrial unit created

A local business park looks set for an expansion creating hundreds of jobs after Leicestershire County Council approved funding.

The land at Airfield Business Park, near Market Harborough, was a Royal Air Force base during the Second World War but it fell into disuse in the 1950s.

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Some of the land was later built on to create high security prison HMP Gartree, but the rest remained undeveloped until it was bought by Leicestershire County Council in 2016.

The council saw the site as an opportunity to support the local economy by creating a commercial space to help local businesses expand and entice new enterprises into the region.

The first phase of the Airfield Business Park saw twelve new premises built and occupied during the pandemic.

Now, the authority is looking to create 16 new small units, two drive-throughs, and one large industrial unit for which a local business has already expressed an interest.

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The scheme is expected to create some 20 jobs through the construction phase and another 240 once complete and occupied.

Leicestershire County Council has already spent £2 million acquiring the land in 2016, it now anticipates it will cost another £16.5 million to see its vision brought to life.

The council’s cabinet approved the scheme’s funding and masterplan at its meeting last week. It is expected this phase will bring in a little over £1 million a year when work is completed.

The authority says it has already pre-let 70 per cent of the proposed units and expects more to be filled before construction is complete. Planning permission will still need to be granted before any work can begin.

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Full plans are expected to be submitted to the authority’s planning department by next month. It is hoped permission will be granted early next year, with work starting on site in January 2025 and completed by February 2026.

Plans were previously submitted for this next phase of the business park in 2021 which would have seen 34 smaller units created. However, due to an increase in construction costs, this is no longer thought to be a viable project.