A STRUCTURAL steel company which employs more than 130 people in Christchurch has revealed plans to move and redevelop its current site with houses.

REIDsteel, which trades under John Reid & Sons Ltd, are proposing for up to 220 new homes to be built on the current base in Reid Street.

The firm is aiming to move to a new state-of-the-art facility in the borough after “outgrowing” its existing home of more than 50 years.

Exports from the company are sent to countries all around the world and next year it celebrates its centenary.

A public exhibition for residents, businesses and the community has been organised on Thursday, October 4 from 4pm to 8pm in the community room at Christchurch fire station.

Simon Boyd, who is REIDsteel managing director, said: “These exciting development plans will allow our business to invest in the latest technology and increase productivity, which will create more jobs and support the local economy while also providing much needed housing.

“It will also mean the removal of an industrial operation from a predominately residential area, and associated reductions in heavy traffic movements and noise.”

REIDsteel was founded in 1919 by Colonel John Reid and is still owned by the Reid family. To date the firm has exported goods to more than 140 countries.

The company says the move to its new Christchurch location will “substantially” reduce traffic movements from Reid Street, cutting down the company’s carbon footprint and reducing noise and disruption for neighbours.

It is aiming to relocate its operations within the boundaries of Christchurch Borough Council.

Mr Boyd added: “Our public exhibition will provide more information about the plans for housing on our site in Reid Street after we leave and will give people the chance to have their say.

“We are looking forward to telling people more about our ideas and welcome their views about proposals.”

REIDsteel was in favour of the UK leaving the European Union and since the vote in 2016, Mr Boyd wrote to all 650 MPs, urging them to secure a ‘clean break’.

During the Brexit referendum campaign, lead Brexiteer Boris Johnson was welcomed to the Christchurch business.

Mr Johnson infamously posed with an angle grinder and a board with his £350 million per week better off claim at the firm’s factory.