Published: November 19, 2019 | Updated: November 19, 2019

New jobs and 13 year defence contract as fifth production facility takes shape for Norco GRP

Mark Northey, Managing Director, Norco GRP, and Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset LEP, at Dorset Innovation Park. Picture: Samantha Cook Photography.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

At least 25 new jobs will be created and a 13 year defence contract secured with the opening of a new production facility by one of Dorset’s most successful companies.

Construction work has now started on the 35,252 ft² (3,275m²) facility for Norco GRP at Dorset Innovation Park Enterprise Zone at Wool.

It’s the first land purchase and commercial construction at the park which is owned by Dorset Council with investment from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Norco GP, a Dorset-based developer of lightweight composite structures and mouldings, has purchased a 2.09 acre (0.85ha) plot.

The development is also the first commercial construction approval under the Local Development Order (LDO) developed for the Enterprise Zone.

The simplified planning system, together with the assistance from Dorset Council, gave Norco GRP assurance and allowed them to obtain approval for the building within 28 days of application, significantly improving the delivery timetable for the project.

Norco GRP is also using Dorset businesses for the construction, including Lionel Gregory Architects and construction contractor Jade-Aden Services Ltd.

Mark Northey, Managing Director, said: “The Dorset Innovation Park offered us the welcome opportunity to continue to grow our business in Dorset.

“The site is secure with Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) perimeter fencing, security gatehouse and 24/7 access, which are requirements from our customers.

“In addition to the creation of skilled engineering and manufacturing jobs and multiple opportunities right across the supply chain, the project will also help raise the profile of Dorset and showcase the strategic nature of the county with its defence manufacturing links.”

Mr Northey told dorsetbiznews the new facility will create a minimum of 25 new jobs and secure a 13 year defence contract.

The company currently employs 175 people at four further production sites in Dorset including a 100,000 sq ft facility at Holton Heath.

Norco GRP is already the primary composites supplier for Dorset Innovation Park’s anchor tenant, Atlas Elektronik UK, on its SEA Class workboats project for the Royal Navy.

It has been supplying Sunseeker International since 1985 and also provides suspension crew seats to the RNLI in Poole.

Matt Prosser, Dorset Council’s Chief Executive, said “It is fantastic for Dorset to have such a strong, home-grown company moving onto Dorset Innovation Park.

“It will create highly skilled jobs for our young people who will be able to stay in Dorset and thrive.”

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset LEP, which oversees the strategic development of the Enterprise Zone, added: “We are thrilled that Norco GRP has chosen Dorset Innovation Park to quickly establish and grow.

“Having such an innovative company expanding at Dorset Innovation Park is really meeting the strategic objectives of Dorset LEP to create an advanced engineering and manufacturing cluster of excellence at the Enterprise Zone.”

Norco GRP, which has a £13m annual turnover, will join 23 other organisations employing 651 people currently based at Dorset Innovation Park.

The park covers 50 hectares of designated employment land and targets companies in the marine, defence, energy and cyber security sectors.

The purpose of the Dorset Innovation Park Enterprise Zone is to stimulate business growth by becoming a catalyst for enhanced economic growth.

It provides priority sector businesses (advanced engineering and manufacturing, marine, defence, energy and cyber security) with financial incentives in the first five years’ of occupation, if that occupation commences before 31 March 2022, and simplified planning to assist with development.