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Disused factory unit proves to be sound investment.

In the spring of 2010, the former Morganite Crucible site in Woodbury Lane in Norton, was acquired by Halls partner, Richard Tomlinson, on behalf of a private property company, with a view to refurbishing and reletting the various units on site.

The 9.5 acre site comprises of approximately 155,000 square feet of factory/warehouse space. Soon after the purchase, two areas totaling 60,000 sq ft completed and by the end of 2010 the site had been fully let, resulting in a full estate.

The disused factory was let in June 2010, to Norton College, an innovative learning facility for young people with special educational needs. Norton College offers traditional classroom-based education for children with complex needs as well as vocational training for young people up to 25 years old. The principal, Ian Hardicker, believes "this new venture provides something unique in the area with the college aiming to take the children on a journey into work, giving them purposeful lives in the future."

Currently offered are skills training for the built environment, such as painting and decorating, bricklaying, roofing and landscape gardening; engineering, including bikes, wheels and tyres and some valeting: and the former canteen has been converted into a catering centre where students will learn cooking and hospitality in a professional kitchen.

Following the closure of the manufacturing plant at Norton, Molten Metal Products was launched by former employees of Morganite Crucible, Dave Hill and Jim Ritchie. The company distribute Morganite products in the UK and sell into UK foundries. Molten Metal Products have also recently been granted a licence to manufacture Morgan furnaces and sell these to the UK market.

Maintaining the manufacturing theme to the site is Arrow Gypsum Recycling Ltd who disposes of and recycle plasterboard. The convenient location of the Crucible Business Park proved valuable in the companies aim to improve the recycling process allowing customers from all over the Midlands to travel easily and quickly to the site.

The flexibility of the site was also important to AKS Go Karting, who created a raceway circuit 500 metres long which is believed to be the fastest and straightest in the UK. The raceway is enclosed in part of the old manufacturing site and is proving a hit with adults as well as children, with the high quality facilities and location attracting a wide variety of customers from Worcester and further afield.

Richard Tomlinson said: "Although 2010 was not the best time for speculative acquisition, we were confident that the site offered sufficient flexibility with the potential to offer as a whole or in separate parts, which, combined with its excellent location adjacent to Junction 7 of the M5 motorway, provided all the ingredients to enhance value and create a good long term hold. Now less than 12 months on, this has proved to be the case as Crucible Business Park is fully let and income producing" For more information on Halls, please contact Richard Tomlinson on 01905 720126 or email


Richard Tomlinson, partner, Halls Worcester; Andrew Vaughan, managing director, Arrow Gypsum Recycling Ltd; Dave Heming and Jason Smith, both Arrow Gypsum Recycling Ltd Norton College Principal, Ian Hardicker and Halls partner, Richard Tomlinson
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 3, 2011
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