Tuesday, February 21, 2017

News: Leighton Vans invest in new Rotherham HQ

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Leighton Vans Ltd, specialists in Volkswagen T5 & T6 van conversions, has bought a new 11,800 sq ft company headquarters and showroom in Rotherham as part of ambitious expansion plans.

The automotive business, which has become a hit with the outdoor and lifestyle community nationwide, is the brainchild of Mike Leighton who spotted a gap in the market for sales and bespoke customisation of VW transporter vans four years ago. It is a spin off from Leighton's former used car business, set up ten years ago.

A million-pound funding package from NatWest and Lombard Finance helped finance the deal which will see the company move from Sheffield to the former Bradken manufacturing unit at Templeborough.

The Dodds Close unit was vacated by Bradken after the Australian heavy engineering company was hit by the downturn in the global mining industry.

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Mike Leighton, managing director of Leighton Vans (pictured), said: "Not only do we sell, rent and lease VW transporters but we create unique, high specification vans which can be colour coded, body styled, upgraded and modified to what our client requires. We really wanted to find premises that suited our business needs, and allowed for growth.

"I've always had a vision to move to a site which would be a drive-to destination for our customers. I wanted a space to display about 50 vehicles, offer merchandise and have an informal customer area.

"This concept will work really well at Dodds Close. Parking and storage was always an issue for us but now we will be able to enhance both our customer experience and the production side, doubling our workforce of eight and operating four ramps in the garage instead of two. The location is really well positioned for the M1, Meadowhall and train stations."

The site is currently being refurbished following the granting of planning permission. It is planned to open in late March.

Sheffield solicitors Wake Smith advised on the deal. Paul Gibbon, director at Wake Smith's commercial property division, said: "We were really pleased to be able to arrange the purchase requirements for Leighton Vans expansion.

"The business model established by Mike works extremely well and he has developed a strong customer base across the country, tapping into the popularity of outdoor sports and people wanting to enjoy the countryside."

The company now has a one million pound turnover, has customers nationwide and also supports world renowned professional mountain bikers including Sheffield's Steve Peat, Scotland's trial cyclist Danny Macaskill and World Cup circuit rider Brendan Fairclough.


Aaron Carter, relationship manager at NatWest, said: "Leighton Vans is a dynamic and ambitious business. It has been really rewarding to work with the management team to progress their growth plans, which are helping to create new jobs locally."

Rebecca Schofield, partner at Knight Frank, which marketed Dodds Close, added: "This industrial warehouse unit is in an established location and ideal for Leighton Vans' expansion needs. It will allow them to have a much improved base with office, showroom, customer area and workshop – all under one roof.

"This unit was one of a few freeholds available and we had good levels of interest because of the quality.

"We wish them every success in their new home."

Leighton Vans website

Images: Wake Smith / Leighton Vans


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