Fifteen years ago it was 11 acres of unprofitable glasshouses. Fifty years ago the nursery sent chrysanthemums around Britain. Now it is the booming and diverse Foxmoor Business Park.
Members and guests of Wellington Business Association visited the site as guest of proprietors Gideon and Jonathan Sumption. The tour took in tenants ranging from mobile home servicing (Apple Campers) to cherry-pickers (Pro-Lift).
What most had in common was that they started small (many as a one-man business) and have expanded rapidly in a low-cost environment where many of the 50+ units are free of business rates and cost from only £45 a week.
“We’re really proud of how quickly a lot of these businesses have grown; sometimes from just one person and a redundancy cheque to significant companies that are buying a plot here and building their own offices,” said Gideon, a former chartered surveyor who has fought numerous battles with planners to keep Foxmoor afloat.
Last year Foxmoor entered a fresh era with a new £500,000 access road opening directly onto the M5 link road. “It was a battle to get the planning and highways permission but then it always has been,” recalled Gideon. As recently as 2007 Taunton Deane Borough Council tried to serve an enforcement notice to close Foxmoor.
Seven years later it is home to scores of thriving small businesses, one of the key factors in Wellington’s robust local economy and low unemployment rates.