The first grants to be handed out to bring redundant buildings in Shropshire back into economic use are set to create new jobs in the county.
Two business expansion projects have been launched with help from £63,000 worth of funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership’s £1.5 million Marches Redundant Buildings Grant Scheme.
The world’s leading supplier of protective covers for helicopters, Air Covers Ltd, near Shrewsbury, has secured the larger grant of £33,146 to convert a Dutch barn to expand its manufacturing operations and create new offices.
It is expecting to create up to six new jobs over the next few years.
Meanwhile, the first grant in Telford & Wrekin has been handed to vehicle leasing company FVR (UK) Ltd, which is moving its operations from Shifnal to Newport.
The £30,000 grant will assist with the conversion of a redundant farm building to provide a headquarters for the company, creating five new jobs.
Marches LEP chairman Dr Geoffrey Davies OBE, said: “As a predominantly rural region, it is important that in areas where buildings lie dormant, there is funding assistance available to help bring them back into productive economic use, whether they are on an industrial estate, in the High Street or in the countryside.”
Air Covers Ltd designs and manufactures technically sophisticated environmental protective covers and anti-corrosion systems for aircraft and marine equipment in parts of the world where harsh conditions can lead to high maintenance costs.
Director John Pattinson said: “The grant will contribute 30 per cent towards the build cost of converting an old Dutch barn into a new workshop and design office.
“We recently won approvals from two of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers so although the market is tough, we seem to be moving in the right direction. The Redundant Building Grant award means we can continue this growth.”
FVR director Chris Driscoll added: “We are a growing company and need to move into larger premises.
“We’ll be converting buildings near Newport, which will give us a new head office complex, allowing further expansion and creating new jobs. We’ll be celebrating our tenth birthday next year, and we’re hoping to be working form our new offices by Christmas.”
The company’s core operation is the leasing of cars and light commercial vehicles. Recent contract wins include Apollo 2000, Ryobi, Black Country Housing Group and Sussex County Council.
The RBGS, which is administered by Herefordshire Council on behalf of the LEP, is aiming to create around 300 jobs across the Marches between now and 2014.