PLANS to create 250 jobs on one of the most important business sites in rural Dorset have reached a milestone.

An £800,000 loan towards redeveloping North Dorset Business Park has been repaid to Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), while the first new unit on the site has been sold.

The development of the park, at Sturminster Newton, is expected to create around 250 jobs in the next five years.

The park is recognised as a key site for employment in the north of the county and a working partnership was formed between Dorset County Council, North Dorset District Council and Homes England to rejuvenate it.

The loan was used to fund site servicing work, including a new service road to create serviced plots.

The first new unit has been sold to Scotts Trading, which supplies industry-leading products to the automotive sector in the UK and continental Europe.

Jim Stewart, chair of Dorset LEP, said: “As one of the county’s economic assets, North Dorset Business Park has an important role to play in local regeneration and job creation.

“The successful repayment of the loan by Dorset County Council now means that we now have funds available to support other worthy projects through the Growing Places Fund scheme, whilst subsequently continuing to support the North Dorset Business Park to reach its full economic potential.”

Ian Knight, head of accelerated construction at Homes England – formerly the Homes and Communities Agency – said:“Growing Places is what drives Homes England and we look forward to the new jobs and businesses which North Dorset Business Park will bring to the area.”

Cllr Deborah Croney, cabinet member for the economy and skills at Dorset County Council, said: “The repayment of the final instalment of the Growing Places Fund loan for North Dorset Business Park is a significant milestone.

“As partners we have demonstrated our commitment to economic growth by investing in our towns at a time of great uncertainty across the national and global economy.

“Without our investment, this land would still be vacant and underused, as it was for many years.

“Now it will provide jobs and income for the people of Sturminster Newton and Dorset,” she added.

Karl Scott, partner with Scotts Trading, said: “We are delighted with our newly built facility at North Dorset Business Park, which combines the head office and warehousing/logistics operations of our business.

“The location is an excellent platform to service our existing dealership, group and original equipment manufacturer clients across the UK, and support plans to accommodate future growth on this one-acre site.”

North Dorset Business Park covers 7.28 hectares and the net developable area which the Growing Places Fund has unlocked is around five hectares.