• The Villages Mag

The Old Fuel Depot... Time for a change.

After a long and varied career in the Oil industry, much of which I had spent either in corporate offices or working from home, I decided to take early retirement and start a consultancy business and renovate property if consulting work was not forthcoming.

In my last month of proper employment, I secured a contract which meant consulting long term four days a week, leaving little time for my ambitions to become a property mogul! Still, at least this left Fridays and weekends for other pursuits.

Running the consulting business from home was not an option, I found it difficult to concentrate and needed a proper base for the business. My plan was to find an office close to home, with the same facilities I enjoyed during my corporate days; meeting room, communal kitchen/break-out area, high speed internet and where there might be a sense of community. So, I headed-out to find a serviced office facility in the locality.

My target was a maximum ten-minute commute! I discovered that I needed to travel to Knutsford or Macclesfield to find anything close to my ambitions and was shocked by the cost of these offices.

The solution seemed simple, find a building and renovate it into a rural office facility. After several sanity checks and having the great fortitude of a patient wife; who is also my business partner, we began to search for a suitable building and eventually bought a derelict one the site of the former fuel depot at Twemlow.

The building we bought was riddled with asbestos and had no planning consent. After many months of work, we secured the necessary consents to demolish the old building and construct a rural office facility. The next significant step was securing a grant from the European Union Rural Development fund, which supports innovation and business growth in rural communities.

Building started in December 2019; our plan was to pre-let the offices to local businesses before completion. Not being adept at social media, we advertised solely in the Villages magazine, parish magazine and put a board outside the construction site.

Just prior to the Covid 19 lock-down in March, we secured tenants for 60% of the 14 office suites, with over 80% of enquires resulting from the Villages Magazine advert. Our first tenant moved-in in September and we now have only one office to fill.

Despite Covid restrictions, we have built a sense of community among our tenants and at last I have a high quality office to work from and only 5 minutes commute from home.

David - The Old Fuel Depot Business Centre

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