Thrapston mainstays say they will have to leave town if they cannot sell their site

Thrapston: Scot6ts of Thrapston Business Awards.'Left to right: peter Waddup, (finance director) James Scott, (director) and David Scott, (chairman) 'Tuesday, 02 November 2010
Thrapston: Scot6ts of Thrapston Business Awards.'Left to right: peter Waddup, (finance director) James Scott, (director) and David Scott, (chairman) 'Tuesday, 02 November 2010

Directors at a business that has been trading in a county town for close to a century fear they may have to leave in order to expand.

Scotts of Thrapston, which is based in Bridge Street, Thrapston, has been looking for a nearby site to move the business to for a number of years.

Bosses at the manufacturing company, which has been based in the town for 92 years, claim that the the only way to move to a nearby premises in Thrapston would be to sell their current site in Bridge Street to a developer and use the funds gained from the sale towards relocating. Otherwise a move to a cheaper site outside Thrapston may be necessary.

But the company’s planning application for a supermarket on the site looks set to be rejected, with the proposal recommended for refusal by officers at East Northamptonshire Council, when councillors discuss the site’s future on July 4.

David Scott, one of the company’s directors, said: “To move out of Thrapston is unthinkable but we have to be realistic.

“We will be celebrating our centenary in eight years time and hope to still be in the Thrapston area when we do.

“However, we also have to look at the commercial reality of the business.

“We’re in a fortunate position as we’ve had our best trading year in 2011 in my time.

“We need larger premises to meet the increased demand for our products and, at the same time, will be looking for cost efficiencies through low maintenance and environmentally friendly facilities.

“It is likely the site will have to be sold to fund a move, but other uses would generate only a fraction of the sales receipts, thus restricting our options.

Scotts of Thrapston manufactures a range of products, including summer houses, timber stables, roof trusses, garages, and outbuildings.

The company employs nearly 100 full-time staff, and the company’s directors say the business brings in more than £1m a year to the town’s economy.

Mr Scott added: “If we did have to move, obviously it would mean that people’s jobs would be moving away. We could probably arrange transport for them, but a lot of people find it a huge benefit that they live so close to where they work.

“We very much want to continue with our local labour force in Thrapston who have been tremendous down the years and have been very loyal to the company.

“We consider the town home.”

A previous application for a housing development on the Bridge Street site was rejected, but the company feels a supermarket on the site will have benefits for the town.

Mr Scott added: “Because we’re reviewing our position, many people think this is blackmail but we’re safeguarding the company. We’ve resisted nailing our cross to any supermarket - we’ve been speaking to them all. Having an out-of-town supermarket won’t take money from the High Street.”