ICONIC Mamhilad Park Estate, Pontypool, base for the former British Nylon Spinners (BNS) manufacturing centre and latterly for large public sector operations is rapidly being re-invented for the 21st century.

The estate is being progressively refurbished in a programme which has brought thousands of square feet of office and workspace accommodation back to life, while creating hundreds of new, mainly private sector, jobs.

A significant investment in fibre optic broadband infrastructure has proved to be a huge boost in attracting new companies to the estate, but the plentiful car parking remains the biggest selling point over all.

The business park is now home to some 150 businesses, which employ between them approximately 1,500 staff.

There is 24/7 on site security, unrivalled road links, an onsite crèche, a fully-equipped fitness centre and an award-winning café/ restaurant - all encompassed in a breath-taking parkland setting. 

The park is home to one of post-war Wales’ largest buildings - the former Nylon Spinners complex - which, to put it into context in terms of mass, is some two-and-half-times the size of London’s mothballed and regenerated Battersea Power Station.

Mamhilad Park Estate owners Johnsey Estates UK Ltd is progressing an exciting plan which is rejuvenating the former hive of industry employing many hundreds of people in the Eastern Valley.

JEUK chief executive officer James Crawford is at the vanguard of the astonishing transformation of the site.

He is enthusiastic as he recounts the journey to date and JEUK’s plans for the future.

“We have come a very long way and we’re not there yet by a long chalk, but we’re getting there. Our latest wing of refurbished offices is now ready and even before completion we’ve been taking calls and listing firm bookings for businesses looking to move in as soon as they can.

“We have a variety of sizes available in refurbished wings from 170 sq ft to 7,000 sq ft, with inclusive fees starting from £212.50 per month.“

Pristine new office space is emerging, after targeted investment, from the existing historic buildings, while the parkland setting is also getting an overhaul with acres of new turf being laid, the estate roads resurfaced, exterior fencing renewed and established tree rich gardens attractively landscaped.

Johnsey Estates operations manager Peter Downes said: “We offer flexible terms at Mamhilad Park Estate. We don’t want start ups or other businesses for that matter to feel tied down or restricted which inevitably works in our favour as businesses can concentrate on what they do best. 

“This in turn sees small start ups grow which often means that they require more space here and we are happy to oblige. This has worked equally well with larger industrial companies, some of which now occupy more than 100,000 sq ft. The flexibility has therefore allowed a huge increase in jobs created.

“Businesses don’t have to sign their life away. We’re proud to be able to say we work as closely with occupiers as they like so we can match the space with their precise needs. 

“We’re here on site so can react as quickly as they like to any issues which may arise or requirements that they may have.”

James Crawford said: “We are long established, having been based in the South Wales area for nearly 60 years. We are now a third generation family business. Our aim is to invest for the long term.

“We started as a property development business but, over time, have evolved into two complementary divisions. We own a property investment portfolio of over 1.5m sq ft centred around Mamhilad Park Estate, Pontypool, which generates a repetitive rental income. We are constantly seeking to improve and upgrade the portfolio to ensure that we maintain occupancy levels and continue to provide good quality space at affordable levels.

“Our occupiers are drawn from both the private and public sector, and, increasingly, a number of national charities. The common theme is that we are user friendly, straightforward and work with our occupiers to provide the accommodation appropriate to their evolving business needs.

“Our development portfolio owns key sites in outstanding positions. We know our market place and have historically acquired strategically located land with potential to enhance value through the planning and development process. 

“Typically we buy green or brownfield sites with potential to add value. We take the land through the planning process using both in house and external professional expertise with a view to either developing the sites ourselves against either pre-sales or pre-lettings or selling sites with planning consent to the national house builders with whom we work closely. We have a reputation for enhancing value through astute asset management based on detailed knowledge of the market place.”

A brief history

Johnsey Estates Ltd was originally set up in October 1958 as TA Johnsey Ltd by the late Terry and Margaret Johnsey to develop a site at Gaskell Street in Newport which had been acquired for their transport business. 

After the completion of Llanwern Steelworks, various areas of land were found to be surplus to requirements, some of which were purchased by Johnsey Estates. 

At Leeway, Newport, for example, in excess of 200,000 sq ft of industrial space was developed, being at the time one of the first industrial estates in south Wales.

A further tranche of land was purchased from the steel company comprising a site of 52 acres directly adjacent to Spytty Road. 

Planning consent was obtained in the early 1980s for the development of a Tesco superstore together with approximately 230,000 sq ft of non-food retail space. 

This was developed by Johnsey Estates and subsequently the planning consent was extended for leisure use which included a multiplex cinema, a bowling alley and various restaurants. The non-food retail park was sold by Johnsey Estates in 1996 but the leisure part of the development was retained as investment, eventually being sold in 2015.

The ongoing strategy of the company is to purchase strategic sites for investment and development which, for example, included the purchase of the former Homeworld depot at Llantrisant which was subsequently demolished and redeveloped to provide 100,000 sq ft for retail space with associated car parking space.

Major purchases made more recently by the company include the acquisition of various sites in Abergavenny and a site in Usk. Part of the Abergavenny site, previously Coopers Filters, was sold for housing to Barratts. Barratts also bought the major part of the site in Usk, where a second phase is now under consideration.

The remaining sites in Abergavenny are being developed notably at the Westgate site at Abergavenny which now houses a Costa Coffee Drive Thru, a Premier Inn, a Brewer’s Fayre and a McDonalds. Johnsey Estates also concluded the land sale at Westgate for the construction of a 70-bed care home creating up to 100 full and part-time jobs. 

The total area of the Westgate development site is 12 acres (4.87 ha.) of net developable land. Johnsey Estates sold three acres of land for housing and after completing the infrastructure to the site concluded the sales of other plots of land in line with the planning consents granted.

Further plots remain available, ranging from 0.7 acres to 2.0 acres.

In 1986 Johnsey Estates purchased Mamhilad Park Estate Pontypool part of the ICI/DuPont complex which extends to some 43 acres with 500,000 sq ft of office and industrial space. Various government organisations and private companies now occupy the estate.

The purchase of the former Warner Lambert site at Pontypool, was a further strategic purchase for the company being close to Mamhilad Park Estate. In 2004 the company purchased the former DuPont site, now called MPE South, which links the Mamhilad Park Estate and the Warner Lambert site.

A major planning application was submitted in June 2017 for an Urban Village comprising 975 houses plus associated facilities including a new school to sit alongside the existing Mamhilad Business Park. Further information on this can be found at www.mamhiladconsultation.co.uk.

To arrange a viewing of the offices or workspace please email enquiries@jeuk.co.uk