Allenby Commercial driving regional regeneration with business park upgrade

A business site bought as part of a move to boost trade and jobs has regenerated an area of East Hull by welcoming 20 new tenants in 16 months with further investment planned by the owners.

Jillian Blowman with some of the members of JB Cheer & Dance Academy who now have their own unit at Base Business Space in Hull

The former Chamberlain Business Park has been rebranded as Base Business Space by owners Allenby Commercial, who bought the sprawling site in December 2020 to address a shortage of quality, efficient and useable business space.

After carrying out a programme of urgent initial works, Allenby Commercial began taking new tenants in April 2021. An influx of small firms ranging from sole traders to some employing as many as eight people has breathed new life into the location with business owners working in sectors including logistics, flooring, offshore safety equipment, car valeting and detailing and dance and fitness.

With around 25 jobs created by the new tenants, the total number of businesses at Base has climbed to 65 with more than 200 employees.

Dale Gooderham, Asset Manager at Allenby Commercial, said: “The rising cost of building is proving a challenge in developing units for SMEs and that’s why Base offered such a unique opportunity in a convenient location. We set about repurposing the existing units, bringing them into use to suit the 21st century market place.

“We will continue investing. The priority has always been the inside of the buildings because people want to be in there and working, but we’re also tidying up the exteriors and there are plans for some new-build as well.”

Derelict buildings have been transformed with the introduction of eco-friendly features including double glazing, solar panels and new planted areas. Security improvements include new electric gates, CCTV and a new perimeter fence.

Dale added: “The work has created some easy access units and we have sub-divided some of the larger areas to create more efficient space for small businesses. All the space has been refurbished to a high standard to help businesses reduce their capital expenditure – we have put in offices and carpets and made it easier for people to move in quickly.

“We can do that because we are a landlord, a developer and a contractor so we have an end-to-end business model and can streamline the process. We rely less on third parties and that’s made a big difference in the current climate. We can remove the obstacles ourselves and help business grow and generate new jobs, and the result is that the Base is a constant hive of activity.”

Jillian Blowman launched JB Cheer & Dance Academy in 2018 and rented space in a sixth form college with a five-year plan to find her own premises. She was able to advance her plans after hearing about Base and will next month celebrate the anniversary of relocation her team of three staff and more than 120 members who include her five-year-old daughter Poppy.

Jillian said: “I was working as a teacher doing PE in primary schools and was made redundant so decided to start my own business going into schools and doing after-school clubs.

“I also launched Cheertots which now has 10 licensees across the country. It’s cheerleading for under-fives and we do it here on a Saturday. I was aware there wasn’t much opportunity to do this in our area and I knew there was a market for it and it was missed in schools.

“It’s more than cheerleading – we do acrobatic arts, stunting and tumble to a high level. We travel to competitions and as a team we have won a number of awards. More than 60 of our members will be competing this year and they come from all over the area – Beverley, Elloughton, Brough, Hedon. They’re aged from two to adults in their 40s.

The space here is great. Allenby fitted the unit out, with toilets kitchen area and LED lighting throughout so all we had to do was fill it was equipment and a banner and graffiti by local artist Neil Posto Deanes.

“Allenbys have been brilliant. It was great to have their support and to be able to move in quickly and it’s a good location – I grew up just round the corner in James Reckitt Avenue and it’s convenient for everybody to get here from anywhere in the area.”

Dave Simpson moved into powder coating after being made redundance as a paint sprayer and then set up his own business, Simpson Valeting and Detailing, moving to a unit at Base in April.

His regular clients turn up at his workshop with everything from a Rolls Royce, Ferrari and Lamborghini to a Corsa or a Focus. As a mobile operator before he moved to Base, Dave has also worked on boats at Hull Marina and Bridlington harbour, caravans and motorhomes and even two helicopters.

He said: “I got fed up with driving round everywhere, especially with the price of fuel, and it was also easier for some of my regulars to bring their cars to me so I needed a workshop.

“A customer told me this place had been taken over and was being redeveloped so I came for a look and this building caught my eye. It’s near the entrance so a lot of people pass it on their way in and out and can see what I’m working on. Allenby Commercial moved really quickly to get me in, and they leave me alone to get on with my work.”