Planning

A WOKING company that is a leader in its field is hoping to employ an extra 150 mostly local staff and triple its floor space by moving into a new factory at the Fairoaks Garden Village.

Harvey Water Softeners has outgrown its premises in Old Woking, and is hoping that the proposed 1,000 home and business centre development will receive planning approval. If so, the firm wants to move into a factory of up to 110,000 sq ft. Its site in Hipley Street is 35,000 sq ft.

PLANS – An artist’s impression of the proposed factory

Roy Bowden, the company’s property manager and son of the founder, Harvey Bowden, said the move would allow for the employment of 150 extra staff to add to the more than 300 current employees and contractors.

Mr Bowden said the new factory would also allow Harveys to construct the mouldings for the water softeners rather than buy them in.

“Quite a lot of our staff live locally and we want to replicate that at Fairoaks.”

The company owns some houses in Old Woking where its staff live and Mr Bowden said the company was looking at buying some of the houses that were planned for the new village.

A setback to the company’s plans was the recent decision by the Woking Borough Council planning committee to make a forceful objection to the application for the garden village.

Martin Hurworth, Harveys managing director, said the proposed site was the only option for the company after it spent several years working with the council to find a new site in Woking borough without success.

“We will create more employment opportunities for the local residents and more money for the local economy,” Mr Hurworth said.

“Some members of our staff have discussed how they are struggling to get on the housing ladder and have expressed an interest in the shared ownership housing options that will be available at Fairoaks,” he said.

For the full story get the 28 February edition of the News & Mail