The Best Connected Site on the South Coast


In conversation

Philip O'Callaghan

Managing Director UK Developments

Mountpark Properties Ltd

Bringing new life to the former Ford factory site on the outskirts of Southampton has been a priority for the city, and 2017 will see the next chapter unfold. Philip O’Callaghan, Managing Director, Mountpark Properties Ltd tells us more.

“As a company, Mountpark had been looking for a prime south coast development site for many years.

“So when the Ford site in Southampton became available we were very excited.

“We were so keen on the site we bought it without planning permission – where else would you find a South East development site situated by a motorway and airport with the port being so close,” said Philip in a tone that cannot disguise how pleased he is with their acquisition.

Quite simply Mountpark see it as the best connected industrial and logistics development site currently available on the south coast and their marketing material goes straight to the point.

‘Land. Sea. Air.’ is the simple but effective tagline they have adopted and already they have companies wanting to move onto the main site in 2017.

“There are two sites. The smaller one to the west of Wide Lane and the main development site which covers 20 acres.

“We bought the main site with the intention of carrying out an industrial and logistics development and we gained planning permission for four units comprising 460,000 sq ft.

“We start on site in January and the units will be ready for occupation in August/ September 2017.

“We have agreed a deal on the land to the west of Wide Lane for an owner occupier of that site. Jaguar Land Rover will relocate their main dealership from central Southampton and that is great news.

“Jaguar Land Rover is one of the leading car manufacturers in the world and a leading brand in the UK. If they hadn’t found a location, Southampton would have lost them as a brand so this is a great outcome – and it will involve 140 jobs,” he said.

From the outset Mountpark were determined to keep the land for industrial and logistics use, explained Philip.

“One of the first things we did when we selected to buy the site was to meet with the Leader of the Council, Councillor Simon Letts and the CEO Dawn Baxendale.

“When you are going to invest somewhere you want to know locally you will be supported – and if things are going to end up in confrontation, you will go somewhere else.

“The first question they asked was whether we were going to develop the site for housing – and I said, no, that’s not what we want to do. We bought the site to develop it for industrial and logistics purposes and that’s what our plans are,” recalled Philip.

“We have had a very good experience in Southampton, with access at all levels to the city council, which is great because we needed to deal with the nuts and bolts of the planning application.

“We are very happy with Southampton as a place to invest, it is a good place to do business and a place where we would look for further opportunities.”

Up to 1,000 jobs are expected to be created by the new development and Mountpark anticipate they will attract existing companies keen to expand and new names too.

“When Ford made the decision to move production it was a very sad day but I see our regeneration of the site as a positive story for the city and for Mountpark.”

“We are talking to a mixture of manufacturing and logistics companies and existing and new companies. There is a lot of old stock out there and people are now thinking the time is right to dust off their plans post-recession.

“We are already in quite advanced discussions with a logistics company,” he said.

Philip is well aware of the proud history of the site and the fascinating back story is being shared with potential new occupiers.

“I fully understand the history of the site and the role it has played not just in the local community.

“It is where the Spitfire was manufactured during World War II, which is an important part of our heritage and then it was the Ford factory for many years.”

Find out more about occupier opportunities at Mountpark Southampton

Search our on-line property databse for commercial property to rent or buy