Engineering group breaks new ground with £5m HQ

The Oxford Times: From left, Mike Ophield, James Dipple, the managing director of Milton Park, Andrew Barlow, commercial director of Milton Park, and Keith Worthington, financial director of Crowcon. From left, Mike Ophield, James Dipple, the managing director of Milton Park, Andrew Barlow, commercial director of Milton Park, and Keith Worthington, financial director of Crowcon.

A GLOBAL engineering firm is moving to major new premises at Milton Park.

Crowcon Detection Instruments will lease a bespoke 40,000 sq ft facility being built by park owner MEPC at a cost of £5m.

Managing director Mike Ophield said: “Following two years of planning, I am really delighted to see this facility reach the ground breaking stage.

“As we are an international company, we are fortunate Milton Park is both a hub for science and innovation and an excellent location with great transport links.”

While no new jobs are being created immediately, bosses are confident of recruiting as there is plenty of room to boost the headcount as and when new workers are required.

All 170 staff currently employed in four business units in Abingdon are set to move into their new base by the end of next year.

Crowcon has taken advantage of Milton Park’s inclusion in the Science Vale enterprise zone which means companies moving in can be eligible for a business rates discount of up to £55,000 a year for five years as well as simplified planning, super fast broadband and business support.

Mr Ophield added: “In selecting a site, it was very important for us to find a location where we could retain our highly-valued workforce and continue our commitment to local employment.

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“As Milton Park is close to our current location we are pleased to have achieved this.

“With this investment we are demonstrating our confidence in the future of the Crowcon gas detection business worldwide.”

The new headquarters building will give the company 30 per cent more manufacturing space than it has in its in its current base at Blacklands Way, Abingdon Business Park.

It will also provide customer training and product demonstration facilities as well as a central administration function.

Crowcon, set up in Cowley in 1970, specialises in developing, making and selling flammable and toxic gas detection equipment.

With branch offices in Holland, the US, Singapore and China, Crowcon’s products are sold throughout the world, to businesses including petrochemical companies, public utilities, fire brigades and building firms.

Andrew Barlow, commercial director at MEPC, said: “This is great news for Oxfordshire’s growth.

“We have worked closely with Crowcon to design a bespoke building which will combine modern production facilities alongside contemporary office accommodation.

“This is part of an exciting development programme already underway on Milton Park’s Enterprise Zone land.”

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