COUNCIL planners are backing an Inverclyde company’s application to build a new workshop complex in Greenock.
Inverweld, currently based in King Street, Port Glasgow, wants to develop land between industrial units at Upper Cartsburn Street and Wellington Park Bowling Club. The firm is having to turn away work because it’s outgrown its premises.
Officials are recommending approval of the proposal. Councillors on Inverclyde Planning Board are due to consider the application on Wednesday 7 June.
About a third of the land would be used by the company, with Inverweld “more than happy” to work alongside a social enterprise group to form some allotments on the rest of it.
There would be one large unit, approximately 600 square metres, housing all the fabrication and welding work as well as office and meeting space, plus a unit of about 160 square metres, that would be divided into three workshops.
Inverweld has purchased the site which is classed as public open space but is heavily overgrown and subject to fly-tipping.
The planning department’s report states that the construction of an industrial unit and ancillary buildings on a site designated as open space would be contrary to policy were it not for the proposal to improve the remaining open space and provide allotments.
The document continues: “The development would also formalise the footpath that runs through the site, improving access for a wider range of users.
“The development of this site would allow a local business to stay within the authority area and retain jobs locally whilst using only one third of the site.
“The development of the open space should not though, be something that is seen as temporary, and which could be removed if it was decided that a further extension of the business was necessary in the future.
“It would also be important to ensure the open space and allotments elements of the development are carried out alongside the construction of any industrial building to ensure that it is not a case of the building getting completed and then the open space and allotments not following. The provision of an enhanced area of open space is a major reason for the proposal being acceptable
A supporting document submitted with the company’s planning application states: “Inverweld Ltd has outgrown its current location. Turnover is up 60 per cent this year but its present location is hampering the growth of the company.
“Lack of parking, difficulty with delivery access for loading and unloading of fabricated structures all add to the issues the company faces.
“Due to space limitations, larger contracts and fabrication work cannot be tendered for. This, coupled with the inability to work a nightshift or overtime if needed, is making it difficult for the company to pursue available additional opportunities and grow any further.
“The company is owned by three generations of welders and fabricators and has grown to employ eight people within the Inverclyde area.”
The statement continues: “Inverweld Ltd services both domestic and commercial customers in the West of Scotland. Its current customer base includes Inverclyde, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire local councils as well as numerous social housing associations and Ferguson Marine Limited in Port Glasgow.
“The available work with Ferguson Marine is growing massively and, due to capacity issues, Inverweld Ltd is in the unfortunate position of turning work away.
“Should Inverweld be successful and be able to relocate then its property in Port Glasgow will be re-let to another business in Port Glasgow. This business is also experiencing difficulties in expanding and will, in turn, allow them to grow further and create more jobs.”
It concludes: “Re-locating to bespoke premises will allow Inverweld to improve facilities for its current workforce. This will include better ventilation, more flexible working hours, dedicated staff break room, improved transport links and secure parking.
“This should lead to better staff retention as well as improved recruitment success. The larger premises will also Inverweld to offer additional spaces through the work experience programmes it currently participates in.
“Based on the internal turnover projections, Inverweld would create five new jobs in the Inverclyde area over the next two years.”