Metier launches £30m search for business villages

Developer Metier is to roll out a business village concept for growing companies after starting on site with a 65,000 sq ft scheme within White Moss Business Park, Skelmersdale.

Contractor CPUK is on site with phase one of Maple Court, off J4 of the M58, to comprise nine self-contained office buildings totalling 25,000 sq ft. Units will range from 2,000 sq ft to 4,000 sq ft around a courtyard designed by architects Leach Rhodes Walker

Phase two will offer 40,000 sq ft and include a mix of bespoke and speculative self-contained units.

Maple Court is designed to complement the £5.4m West Lancashire Investment Centre next door, which provides office space for small firms. The Investment Centre has been fully let since July 2006, with 26 organisations on site and a growing waiting list.

Metier bought the 4.5-acre site from West Lancashire District Council in July 2007. The company is now actively seeking further sites of between two and five acres for similar developments having allocated £30m of funding to this sector.

Andrew Hine, director of Metier, said: "Maple Court will form an integral part of the council's masterplan for the area and its design is the result of extensive research into the market. We are confident that it will meet the requirements of potential occupiers. It's location, in terms of accessibility, is superb."

The council received support from English Partnerships, North West Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund to regenerate the area.

GVA Grimley and WHR are joint agents on Maple Court. Phase one is scheduled for completion in June 2008.

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