A COMPANY which wanted to move out of Christchurch town centre and give its site over to 170 homes has decided to expand its existing factory instead.

Structural steel firm REIDsteel has announced a £30milion scheme to redevelop its Reid Street site along with the buildings formerly occupied by Peeks Party Store and Monkey Madness.

The business, which employs more than 130 people, has launched a consultation as it prepares to submit a planning application.

Simon Boyd, managing director of John Reid & Sons, said: “As a local business of many years’ standing, our heart is in Christchurch.

“Our exciting proposals represent a multi-million-pound investment in the town and the local economy while safeguarding the future of our business for many years to come.

“We are keen to hear views about our scheme, with more details available on a dedicated website.

“They matter to us and will inform our plans moving forward.”

The company previously won planning permission for 170 homes on its site. It said it could double productivity by moving to a bigger base outside the town centre.

It said its directors decided to revisit the scheme when the opportunity became available to remain in the town with space to reconfigure its operations under one roof.

The proposals include a new factory and offices with access on to Reid Street. The majority of existing buildings on the site would be demolished.

Mr Reid said: “The layout of our current site leads to inefficiencies which reduce our competitiveness, hampering our ability to grow the business.

“Redevelopment would bring multiple manufacturing processes into a single, automated production line under one roof, including steel delivery and unloading.

“This would give us a safer working environment, more control and the ability to implement new technology to improve productivity.

“It would improve the local environment by cutting down on noisy outdoor handling operations and reducing interruptions to traffic flow on Fairmile caused by restricted access to our existing stockyard.

“The redevelopment would allow us to continue our growth trajectory and bring greater employment to the Christchurch area with more high-skilled jobs.”

REIDsteel designs and builds steel-framed structures including aircraft hangars, bridges, sports stadiums and factories.

It has exported to more than 140 countries and says it contributes more than £2million to the local supply chain.

It said it would submit a planning application to BCP Council after its consultation ends on Friday July 23. The public can find out more and comment at reidsteelredevelopment.com