FORDS: ‘Our £5million Sidmouth jobs vision’

11:00 07 June 2012

Alexandria industrial estate. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 1358-22-12AW

Alexandria industrial estate. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 1358-22-12AW


FORDS of Sidmouth have revealed their vision to invest £5million to create jobs with a sustainable business park “fit for the 21st century”.

Owners of the fourth generation family firm this week spoke publicly for the first time about controversial proposals for an employment site of up to 12 acres between Sidford and Sidbury.

Tim and Mike Ford told the Herald: “This should be a positive thing – we’re trying to bring employment in.

“It’s the sort of thing people should be grabbing.

“If our great grandfather had taken the view that things couldn’t change, how many houses would we have in Sidmouth?

“Sidmouth has to grow – a lot of places were green fields once.”

The Fords say the hub should be dedicated to small businesses looking to expand, would boast a conference and meeting centre, and could be powered and heated with by-product from the nearby sewage works.

“It is all very well allocating the land, but who will actually deliver the project if not us?” said Tim Ford.

The Fords said their proposals came from a Government request for local authorities to put forward areas for housing and employment.

Provision for up to five hectares of employment land north of Sidford has been included in the district council’s draft Local Plan.

Fords say the site they have an option on is the “most suitable in the Sid Valley” to provide future employment opportunities – and they looked at three options.

They added the land in question will be screened by trees and landscaping, buildings will be wood-clad and “aesthetically pleasing”, and sympathetic design concepts would see “environmentally sensitive construction”.

Local tradesmen would be employed to build the business park and a cycle path would be created along its front and side.

The Fords said traffic and flood issues were being investigated.

They say “investment within the community for jobs is crucial to create a healthy economy for Sidmouth”.

Mike Ford added: “We don’t want large retailers - that is the potential benefit of it being owned by a local family.”

Several businesses have expressed their interest in a potential new business park north of Sidford – even though plans are in their infancy.

The early demand was revealed as Mike and Tim Ford said their land at the Alexandria Industrial Estate was “full” with a waiting list for units.

The firm, which has a 70-strong workforce and annual wage bill of more than £1million, would be able to offer around 28 extra positions if allowed to expand to the proposed Sidford site.

The Fords added that nine firms, ranging from sweets, French pharmaceutical, landscaping and clothing companies to builders, had already expressed an interest in the mooted employment land – with another 49 new jobs predicted. The early demand equates to a potential 25,000sq ft of space.

Tim Ford said: “For Alexandria, we have a waiting list. This plan is for the next 15 years and we are in a double dip recession – where is the expansion supposed to go?”

Fords have pointed to nine employment sites, like the Sidmouth Dairy in Temple Street and Anstis Frozen Food in Woolbrook, lost to housing over the last 30 years and not replaced.

They say small businesses are working from home in Sidmouth, without planning permission, because they can’t get a unit nearby.

The Fords said they had attempted to get better access to the Alexandria estate for 15 years to no avail – and a new business park is now “far more suitable”.

“Around 160 kids leave Sidmouth College each year - where are they going to work?” added Tim Ford.

He said that 90 per cent of local companies who want to expand or relocate, surveyed by Fords, would be willing to work with the college to take 16 to 18-year-olds on a day release basis.

Fords can list 30 local tradesmen who have worked or carried out an apprenticeship with them.


  • Are these the same Ford's that sold out to Tesco?

    Report this comment


    Friday, June 8, 2012

  • The Fords are described as local 'businessmen' they have no interest in Sidmouth except to use the town to make money - if selling to Morrisons makes them a huge profit that is exactly what they will do. There are several other 'businessmen' in Sidmouth that have quietly bought up plots of land - at the moment they enjoy a status associated with representing the town and keeping the 'big boys' out and speaking against more development. But, rest assured, when the time comes and their assets suddenly become attractive - they will sell to the highest bidder and that will be developers or supermarkets. They are amongst you now in their various hotels and shops - looking sideways and waiting to make that profit and run. Mind you - Morrisons wouldn't be a bad idea - its a bit nearer the town and would give a good bit of competition to the 'rip off' local providers ............. interesting times ahead.

    Report this comment

    Tell It As It Is

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

  • Yes thats them........!!!

    Report this comment

    Tell It As It Is

    Friday, June 8, 2012

  • That throws a different light on it! Are they really acting in Sidmouths best interest...the newsagent that was next door to Tesco's and that closed within a couple of months springs to mind! Or are they just cosying up to Morrisons?

    Report this comment


    Friday, June 8, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other News Stories

38 minutes ago
Road closed

Devon County Council has announced drainage works will take place along Temple Street for five weeks from Monday, January 18.

Read more
44 minutes ago
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones

Peter Heaton-Jones says the Autumn Statement ‘kept giving good news’

Read more
49 minutes ago
Awliscombe Primary working with EDDC's recycling and waste team.

The youngsters, aged 10 to 11 years old, visited East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) offices at Knowle in Sidmouth, as part of national Takeover Challenge Day.

Read more
51 minutes ago
Cranbrook Railway Station. Ref mhc 3523-37-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

AFTER many postponements, Cranbrook railway station will finally open on Sunday, December 13.

Read more
Police are appealing for help in finding the culprit responsible for recent graffiti tags

One man has been questioned in connection with a recent bout of vandalism and officers are asking for more information or witnesses

Read more
Is there cash for the North Devon Link Road?

North Devon will be able to bid for a share of a £475m transport pot

Read more

North Devon and Torridge District councils are on track to put their joint plan for the future of the two districts into action by May 2016.

Read more
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne delivers his joint Autumn Statement and Spending Review to MPs in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire

Tax credit cuts scrapped, potential two per cent on council tax, ‘no police cuts’...

Read more
Large trees were brought down in the slide at Beam Quarry, on the A386 between Torrington and Weare Giffard. Picture: Submitted

Engineers look for solutions for both sites but road will close for 10 weeks in January for unrelated repairs to retaining wall near Landcross

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 10°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Place a family notice

Family Notices 24

Find a job in Devon

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

FFind planning applications