Towngate Business Centre, Through The Ages
Towngate Plc purchased the Widnes site, a former crisp factory, from Golden Wonder, in 2000 and refurbished the entire site, creating industrial units and parking space for industrial/commercial industry.
Golden Wonder, the company that invented the flavoured potato crisp, closed its doors on the Widnes site in April 1999 after 37 years. Crisp production was transferred to the company's factories at Scunthorpe and Corby.
Golden Wonder is one of the original crisp manufacturers in the UK. It was founded by Scottish baker William Alexander in 1947 and was the first UK company to add flavour to crisps, starting with cheese and onion in 1962.
The Site Then & Now
Julia Ford, Marketing Manager at Towngate, recently interviewed Stephen Hawkridge, a former employee at Golden Wonder at Widnes with 12 years service to the Company. He informed Julia that the site employed people ranging from office staff, fitters, drivers and canteen staff. The site had 2 weighbridges operating on both sides of the Security gatehouse. The area now known as Yard 1 was the main staff car park (currently available to let), Yard 2 was an additional covered stores area (currently available to let), Yard 3 (currently occupied by GCA Domestic Ltd) was the underground starch plant. The now covered loading bay area near the link building between Units 6 and 7, was where the waste potatoes used to be disposed of into skips.
The now named Unit 1 (occupied by Kings Road Tyres) was the old canteen and laboratories facility. The now named Unit 2 (occupied by PolyOne Corporation UK Ltd) was the area where the raw product (potatoes) was unloaded into pods. Units 3 and 7 (Unit 3 is being marketed to let and Unit 7 is currently occupied by GIST Ltd) were the main potato stores. Unit 4 (now demolished and being marketed as yard space) was the old machinery repair shop. Unit 5 (occupied by MDI International) contained the Packing Machines and main loading bays. Unit 6 (currently being marketed) contained the cookers and raw materials and at the rear of Unit 6 was where the oversized potatoes were cut. Unit 8 (occupied by Think Tank Engineering) was the old Commercial Vehicles Fitting Shop.
The site is now a busy and bustling industrial Estate with tenants including GIST Ltd, M& D International, Kings Road Tyres, PolyOne Corporation and Think Tank Engineering Ltd, along with lorry parkers such as Bowden Transportation Service and Driver Provider.
Towngate Business Centre In The Future
The approval of the new Mersey Gateway project, will see the construction of a bridge crossing (completion planned for 2015) which will provide a real boost to the local economy. It will provide fantastic opportunities for our site at Widnes, ensuring improved transport links in addition to the economical benefits.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the site and any current and future availability, telephone Julia Ford 01484 715635, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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