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Watford Health Campus: Cardiff Road businesses face 'uncertain future'
Businesses on a West Watford estate are facing an uncertain future as they are forced to relocate as part of the health campus scheme.
Companies are being moved from the Cardiff Road Industrial Estate after plans were approved to run a new road through the area and develop it with hundreds of new homes as part of the regeneration project.
Watford Borough Council, which owns the site, also has powers to compulsory purchase businesses under the scheme.
Some companies have received compensation as part of the deal, but others haven’t depending on their tenancy agreements.
However some business owners have hit out at the level of assistance they have received from the council to help them locate.
Glen Haysman, owner of Glen Windows, which employs around 30 workers, said his business faces a large scale relocation operation to the Penfold Trading estate, in Imperial Way, north Watford.
The company came to the Cardiff Road business park in 1995 and has since expanded its premises to include a windows showroom and extensive workshop area.
Mr Haysman, 60, said: "It has taken a long time to find a new location, and a lot of money - with no help from the council.
"My main issue is that even if you are not entitled to some compensation then you would expect some sort of help. A lot of people work for me and we have been here a long time, we have won national awards and have been a good company for the town. We would expect some help."
Chris Cooper, who runs Commercial Motors with his brother Robert, said his business needed to stay close to Watford and its customers.
The garage, which deals with large vehicles such as coaches, was founded by the brothers’ father Sidney in 1969.
Mr Cooper said: "We need to stay here as this is where our customer base is and if you move out of the area, even five miles, then you have to start again in someone else’s area. People have been with us for many years. The main issue has been finding new premises."
He added that he was looking a premises in Aldenham, but the site was still subject to planning permission.
Other businesses have fared better in the transition. Marcus MacLeod, the owner of Loxwood Contacts Ltd, said the electrical company had found better and bigger premises on the Watford Business Park, which is also owned by the council.
Yet he said the move had pushed his company, which makes components for everything from planes and cars to domestic switches, into its overdraft.
He said: "For the first time in many years we have had to go to the bank for support, which we hadn’t had to do for around eight years, as we have used our cash reserves and are operating in an overdraft. That is why we are hoping for help from the council."
Mr MacLeod added that the company had done well in recent years as it exports to emerging markets such as China and had been looking to move to a bigger site.
A spokesman for Watford Borough Council said: "The council has been working with the businesses in Cardiff Road since 2011 to help them relocate.
"This has included regular visits to the businesses, specialist help and support, drop-in sessions and flexible rents saving the each of the businesses between £7-10k per year.
"We are pleased that most of the businesses, including Glen Windows, have found new premises and that the majority have been extremely appreciative of the support we've provided."
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