The Hadley Group, the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of cold roll formed sections, has confirmed that it is the preferred bidder for the purchase of a former fire training centre in Smethwick.
The fire service originally bought the Dartmouth Road building in 1992 and developed an academy that was once regarded as a national centre of excellence, training officers from forces across the country. However, a national review of fire service buildings moved training provision into fire stations and the community. In addition, the Smethwick facility had become too expensive to maintain. In 2013 West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority decided to close its training academy, putting the 4.2-acre site on the market through Harris Lamb Property Consultancy.
Four years later it looks like the site has found a buyer. Negotiations over its acquisition by the Hadley Group are expected to take until mid March 2017, although no financial details or plans are currently being revealed.
The centre is next to Hadley’s purpose-built steel fabrications factory on Gaitskell Way where high volumes of UltraSTEEL products are manufactured and prototype product testing is carried out. The Gaitskell Way site is also home to the Hadley Group’s IT department, learning centre and George Green Transport. Group chairman Stewart Towe has said that the acquisition of the Dartmouth Road premises is part of long term plans to create a 12-acre flagship manufacturing site, boosting output, increasing the company’s size relative to the market, enhancing its flexibility and creating more jobs in the region.
The Hadley Group was founded in 1964 and its headquarters are on Downing Street in Smethwick. It now employs more than 500 people worldwide and has an annual turnover of over £100 million. In addition to its five UK sites, it also operates nine facilities across five continents, the latest being a manufacturing centre in Gebze, Turkey which was launched in 2016 and forms part of the group’s ‘2020 vision’ to increase production capacity and expand into new markets.
Think Sandwell wishes the Hadley Group all the best in its negotiations and future developments. To find out how we can help your business expand, take a look at our Business Services pages.