One of Alnwick’s iconic businesses could be on the move.
World famous Hardy and Greys, the makers of high quality fishing tackle, now owned by Pure Fishing, is planning to expand away from its current home on the Willowburn Trading Estate.
A joint venture between Northumberland Estates and Pure Fishing could see significant investment in new premises, business expansion and more jobs for Alnwick.
If successful, the new proposals would see the construction of purpose-built manufacturing facilities, plus a showroom and retail complex, on land owned by the Estates and earmarked for development next to the Hogs Head Inn at Cawledge, on the southern outskirts of the town.
If planning permission is granted, the complex will also include a new head office for Hardy’s.
A spokesman for the company said: “Hardy’s has been in Alnwick since the business first started as a gunsmiths back in 1872.
“The sale and manufacture of high quality fishing tackle swiftly followed, and the brand has been synonymous with the town ever since.”
Hardy’s is currently one of the largest employers in Alnwick with more than 100 staff working from its existing premises on the Willowburn Trading Estate.
But, with these facilities no longer fit for purpose, the company’s preferred option is to stay in the town and invest in bigger and better facilities at this ‘new and well located’ site.
The proposed new premises would also offer Hardy’s the potential to grow and expand, in particular the manufacturing side of the business which is currently developing new uses for its composite carbon products outside of the world of fishing.
Rory Wilson, agent with Northumberland Estates, said: “Hardy’s products are iconic, with the brand well known all over the world, and it is vital that this important employer remains in its home town of Alnwick.
“We are delighted to be able to assist the company in trying to achieve the new facilities they so badly need, if they are to continue to expand and thrive as a business.”
The famous firm’s current home, the Willowburn Trading Estate, has been the subject of a planning wrangle over recent months.
A bid by Northern Commercial Properties, registered at the Estates office at Alnwick Castle, and the Harris & Sheldon Group to build 100 houses on the plot has fallen foul of the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan, which designates the site as employment land.
It has twice been unanimously refused by county councillors, despite the original application for 125 homes being recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers.
The applicants have lodged an appeal and a public inquiry is due to start on Tuesday and is expected to last six days.
But a spokesman at the Estates has said Hardy’s scheme to move to Cawledge is not dependant on the result of the appeal and a planning application will be put in regardless of the result.