Marlow business parks need to be brought into 21st century say politicians

Business parks need to be brought into 21st century say politicians

Business parks need to be brought into 21st century say politicians

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

EMPTY office blocks in Marlow are out of date and need to be dragged into the 21st century to keep the town open for business, according to politicians and business leaders.

Concerns have been raised over the large swathes of empty premises, especially on the large dedicated industrial area Globe Park, based off Fieldhouse Lane.

With Wycombe District Council’s (WDC) Local Plan looking to make Marlow an attractive destination for businesses, calls are growing for the park to be modernised and made fit for purpose.

And MP Dominic Grieve believes more should be done to maximise the existing buildings and infrastructure before considering a new complex on Green Belt land at Westhorpe Park.

He said: "I am concerned that Globe Park is under-utilised at the moment.

"Looking at Globe Park and why buildings and units are unlet or whether there should be more development there to make units more 21st century friendly.

"That might be a better thing to do initially than starting to stick stuff down on Greenfield sites at Westhorpe.

"Marlow is a pretty vibrant place and has also been developed very well as the population has expanded in the last 70 or so years.

"It’s still recognisably what it is but I do think if we start spilling out over the A404 we’re going to end up with something rather different."

Marlow’s business quarter, based in the east of the town near the A404, is home to the Thames Industrial Estate, Globe Park and Marlow International.

Though home to some large employers such as Softcat and Dun and Bradstreet, many of the buildings are unused.

To combat the problem, a long-mooted plan to create a ‘Business Improvement District’ at Globe Park similar to a scheme in High Wycombe town centre is on the horizon, according to WDC.

The High Wycombe Bid Co is responsible for improvements to the town centre paid for by a business rate levy based on the company’s size.

And it is hoped a similar scheme in Marlow could help keep existing companies in place and attract more new firms to the town, with a ballot on the idea taking place among businesses in October.

WDC leader Richard Scott told the MFP: "One of the problems with Globe Park is that it includes two different areas of industrial park and they are in a multitude of ownerships, and so the council cannot easily impose a solution. That is why we are keen on the Bid co idea.

"Some are empty, some are empty, some are sold, some are temporary, and the council owns some land down there too.

"The biggest issue is car parking, but building a new car park is very expensive, and we would see what the Bid Co could come up with and if there was redevelopment a new car park could be part of that.

"If it goes ahead, they will represent the businesses and come up with the solutions needed as we (the council) are not the major player there.

"There are some great quality companies there but there are also empty units, and we are anxious to see the area regenerated."

Despite concerns over empty units on the business park, there are success stories in the area, with IT company Softcat going from strength to strength and employing around 400 people at its Fieldhouse Lane HQ.

Former WDC leader Alex Collingwood has praised the example set by the firm, but stressed work needed to be done to bring some buildings ‘into the 21st century’.

As well as parking problems, limited access to the industrial parks causes gridlock during rush hour.

Cllr Scott added that the roundabout linking the estates to the A404 at the Parkway has been identified as a ‘pinch point’ by the Highways Agency during the government’s review of problem areas on the roads.

Comments (13)

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10:46am Sat 16 Aug 14

gpn01 says...

Either improve the facilities OR accept how people work in 21st Century. The exisring business paek could be developed as a tech-hub as part of the innovation ynderway already across rhe Thames Valley. Think hub-working spaces, collaboration zines and multi small businesses rather rhan monolithic employment offices.
Either improve the facilities OR accept how people work in 21st Century. The exisring business paek could be developed as a tech-hub as part of the innovation ynderway already across rhe Thames Valley. Think hub-working spaces, collaboration zines and multi small businesses rather rhan monolithic employment offices. gpn01
  • Score: 3

11:15am Sat 16 Aug 14

faircuppa says...

That will be ideal for some housing as well then to shoulder some of the Coalition requirement for Wycombe District. This will enable Leader Scott to lead by example. We need to know how many on the housing list are needing Marlow.
That will be ideal for some housing as well then to shoulder some of the Coalition requirement for Wycombe District. This will enable Leader Scott to lead by example. We need to know how many on the housing list are needing Marlow. faircuppa
  • Score: 5

8:13pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Lividov says...

Leave it market forces. Let's not have this liberal WDC dishing out our money to subsidise these bloated developers who can't see on opportunity when it bites them on the aaaaarm.
Leave it market forces. Let's not have this liberal WDC dishing out our money to subsidise these bloated developers who can't see on opportunity when it bites them on the aaaaarm. Lividov
  • Score: -2

10:54am Sun 17 Aug 14

s6blr says...

The WDC needs to address the road situation into/out of the Glebe Centre.

Traffic can be backed up a MILE from the roundabout near the A404 junction by the firestation-- if they're serious about development that area they MUST fix the mini-roundabout traffic mess.

Yes it is only a problem at rush hour, but getting companies in/out is a key area where employees will grumble and vote with their feet to find new place to work if the grind eats away day after day after day.

Marlow could be a fantastic Tech Hub / Incubator zone as Reading Council established in Winnersh Triangle, with just a little forward thinking and better infrastructure that wouldn't cost nearly as much as the public thinks.
The WDC needs to address the road situation into/out of the Glebe Centre. Traffic can be backed up a MILE from the roundabout near the A404 junction by the firestation-- if they're serious about development that area they MUST fix the mini-roundabout traffic mess. Yes it is only a problem at rush hour, but getting companies in/out is a key area where employees will grumble and vote with their feet to find new place to work if the grind eats away day after day after day. Marlow could be a fantastic Tech Hub / Incubator zone as Reading Council established in Winnersh Triangle, with just a little forward thinking and better infrastructure that wouldn't cost nearly as much as the public thinks. s6blr
  • Score: 6

10:58am Sun 17 Aug 14

wycombetownie says...

Lividov wrote:
Leave it market forces. Let's not have this liberal WDC dishing out our money to subsidise these bloated developers who can't see on opportunity when it bites them on the aaaaarm.
WDC is anything but liberal.. its the most backward thinking Tory council in Bucks
Its answer to everything is..
Not our problem!
Blame our partners!
Blame another District authority!
Blame BCC!
Blame the current Govt!
Blame the past Govt!
Get someone else to do it !
Get someone else to pay for it!
Run our buildings and assets into the ground!
Sell off everything !
Build everything in High Wycombe!
Dont worry about the infrastructure and services!
The list goes on...

What do you expect from a bunch of Marlow and Rural Tories driven by NIMBY agendas running our council.
Go to likes of Milton Keynes, Slough,Maidenhead, Aylesbury, Oxfordshire and you will find a different way of working.
Many of these areas have Tory councils some have Lib Dem and Labour .. However the thinking is totally different.

The WDC Tory administration needs an overhaul.. we need a council with a new breed of Councillors who are prepared to take ownership of the issues and address them.
[quote][p][bold]Lividov[/bold] wrote: Leave it market forces. Let's not have this liberal WDC dishing out our money to subsidise these bloated developers who can't see on opportunity when it bites them on the aaaaarm.[/p][/quote]WDC is anything but liberal.. its the most backward thinking Tory council in Bucks Its answer to everything is.. Not our problem! Blame our partners! Blame another District authority! Blame BCC! Blame the current Govt! Blame the past Govt! Get someone else to do it ! Get someone else to pay for it! Run our buildings and assets into the ground! Sell off everything ! Build everything in High Wycombe! Dont worry about the infrastructure and services! The list goes on... What do you expect from a bunch of Marlow and Rural Tories driven by NIMBY agendas running our council. Go to likes of Milton Keynes, Slough,Maidenhead, Aylesbury, Oxfordshire and you will find a different way of working. Many of these areas have Tory councils some have Lib Dem and Labour .. However the thinking is totally different. The WDC Tory administration needs an overhaul.. we need a council with a new breed of Councillors who are prepared to take ownership of the issues and address them. wycombetownie
  • Score: 3

2:39pm Sun 17 Aug 14

jayeatman says...

wycombetownie is right. I lived in Newtown road for all the 90s when Globe Park was pretty full. The traffic was a nightmare at rush hour: Backed up the length of both Newtown Road and the access road. For the last few years the traffic hasn't been anywhere near as bad for the obvious reason. If you want more occupancy you just HAVE TO FIX THE ROAD ACCESS ISSUE. Market forces will take care of the rest.
So this has been an issue for a good 25 years or more: The likes of Richard Scott and Alex Collingwood have been around all that time, but the problem still exists. Go figure who might fix it in the next few.........
wycombetownie is right. I lived in Newtown road for all the 90s when Globe Park was pretty full. The traffic was a nightmare at rush hour: Backed up the length of both Newtown Road and the access road. For the last few years the traffic hasn't been anywhere near as bad for the obvious reason. If you want more occupancy you just HAVE TO FIX THE ROAD ACCESS ISSUE. Market forces will take care of the rest. So this has been an issue for a good 25 years or more: The likes of Richard Scott and Alex Collingwood have been around all that time, but the problem still exists. Go figure who might fix it in the next few......... jayeatman
  • Score: 3

6:58pm Sun 17 Aug 14

s6blr says...

Why doesn't WDC sit down with local groups like Marlow Entrepreneurs, Mayor Suzanne Brown, and other interested parties WITH START-UP EXPERIENCE and properly plan a Technology Incubator park like Winnersh Triangle in Reading?

All the opportunity is there - fix the mini roundabout problem I mentioned earlier and this could be a fantastic way to get more tax generating businesses into the local area.

It is not brain surgery to do thus, I'd gladly give time having been in 7 start ups in my career and I know plenty of people with experience. Get the council to invest, it'd be a fantastic non polluting place.
Why doesn't WDC sit down with local groups like Marlow Entrepreneurs, Mayor Suzanne Brown, and other interested parties WITH START-UP EXPERIENCE and properly plan a Technology Incubator park like Winnersh Triangle in Reading? All the opportunity is there - fix the mini roundabout problem I mentioned earlier and this could be a fantastic way to get more tax generating businesses into the local area. It is not brain surgery to do thus, I'd gladly give time having been in 7 start ups in my career and I know plenty of people with experience. Get the council to invest, it'd be a fantastic non polluting place. s6blr
  • Score: 3

8:35pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Wyenot says...

Increase the number of trains and a better bus service -including a Bourne End link (if train can't be increased. ).Improve the cycle paths
Increase the number of trains and a better bus service -including a Bourne End link (if train can't be increased. ).Improve the cycle paths Wyenot
  • Score: 3

8:36pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Wyenot says...

Increase the number of trains and a better bus service -including a Bourne End link (if train can't be increased. ).Improve the cycle paths
Increase the number of trains and a better bus service -including a Bourne End link (if train can't be increased. ).Improve the cycle paths Wyenot
  • Score: 0

11:06pm Mon 18 Aug 14

RowanIW says...

Well said Wyenot.

The Marples - Beeching cuts got rid of the rail link between Bourne End and High Wycombe.

We could use the money allocated for the HS2 vanity project for more sensible useful things, like restoring the Marples - Beeching cuts.
Well said Wyenot. The Marples - Beeching cuts got rid of the rail link between Bourne End and High Wycombe. We could use the money allocated for the HS2 vanity project for more sensible useful things, like restoring the Marples - Beeching cuts. RowanIW
  • Score: 1

11:07pm Mon 18 Aug 14

RowanIW says...

And well said faircuppa. Why shouldn't unused offices be converted into good homes for people?
And well said faircuppa. Why shouldn't unused offices be converted into good homes for people? RowanIW
  • Score: 2

8:33am Tue 19 Aug 14

gpn01 says...

A Marlow BIDCO c9uld be a good idea. Establish a single voice for the businesses, Towñ Council and Chamber of Commerce and throw in transport representation by BCC and FGW.

A question I have about Globe Park though....As there are so many unoccupied units currently then why is road access claimed to be the problem that is preventing companies from locating there? If there was high occupancy then I could understand that traffic and parking could be a problem. However that doesn't seem to be the case. So, what analysis has been done to lkead the Council to conclude that the problem is access to the area?
A Marlow BIDCO c9uld be a good idea. Establish a single voice for the businesses, Towñ Council and Chamber of Commerce and throw in transport representation by BCC and FGW. A question I have about Globe Park though....As there are so many unoccupied units currently then why is road access claimed to be the problem that is preventing companies from locating there? If there was high occupancy then I could understand that traffic and parking could be a problem. However that doesn't seem to be the case. So, what analysis has been done to lkead the Council to conclude that the problem is access to the area? gpn01
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Wed 20 Aug 14

jojo2508 says...

Please please please sort out the parking and traffic before encouraging new occupants into the empty buildings. The roads around the industrial estate are bearing the brunt - just have a look at Savill Way, rammed full of cars during the week with no passing places.

Softcat employs 400 people, but how many parking spaces does it provide? Nowhere near 400 I bet.
Please please please sort out the parking and traffic before encouraging new occupants into the empty buildings. The roads around the industrial estate are bearing the brunt - just have a look at Savill Way, rammed full of cars during the week with no passing places. Softcat employs 400 people, but how many parking spaces does it provide? Nowhere near 400 I bet. jojo2508
  • Score: 1

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