The Metal Box factory in Neath is operational again for the first time in four years following investment from Sevenoaks Modular
The Metal Box factory is up and running again thanks to investment by Sevenoaks Modular, a Neath-based specialist in timber frame construction. The company aims to invest £6.5m in acquiring and regenerating a large part of the industrial site. With phase 1 now complete, some 20 people are already employed on site.
Councillors for Neath Port Talbot, Sandra and John Miller were recently shown around the 250,000 sq ft site and discussed the company’s future plans for it. Sevenoaks Modular, which currently employs around 100 people in Neath, anticipates it will double its workforce in the next 12 months in conjunction with its expansion to the site. The move will also allow it to go from producing 1,000 homes per year to more than 3,000 per year.
Sevenoaks Modular will acquire around half of the Metal Box factory site from Neath Port Talbot Council, which bought the factory in 2019. It will move all its operations to the site once it has been refurbished as will its sister companies Hale Construction and Hale Homes. Between all the companies, some 200 people will be based at the site.
John and Sandra Miller said: “When the Metal Box closed I don’t think anyone expected to see its doors open again. After our guided tour of the facility this morning it is easy to become hopeful again. This is an exciting development which highlights a company who are able to adapt and utilise the space available to them.
“Although this morning’s tour was only to the first phase, we were extremely impressed by what we saw and with the plans for expanding into the next phase. We were given a full account of the vision of the company and the intention of those driving the project. We look forward to seeing this local company going from strength to strength.”
Charlotte Hale, director of Sevenoaks Modular, added: “We are delighted to see the site up and running again and there has been a real buzz in the local community as a result. At present, only a small part of the site is operational but we have around 20 people employed there and one of the two large-scale cranes at the site is now working again following extensive repairs and refurbishment.
“This is just the start for us. We will eventually have all our manufacturing based at the site. Our long-term plans will mean a significant investment in the local economy and allow us to keep pace with demand and all while pushing an environmentally friendly agenda, both in terms of the style of construction we champion and in terms of how we will regenerate the site itself.”
Supported by the public and private sectors, Sevenoaks Modular will make a significant investment to regenerate the site. It will install a new roof, conduct extensive repairs on the main premises, build offices and install an eco-friendly wood-burning facility, complemented by cutting-edge energy storage units, which will recycle offcuts from the construction process and power the entire site.
In partnership with local education providers, it will also establish a training academy for young people looking to get a foothold in the construction industry, and open parts of the site up to use by the wider community. The company anticipates all the work will be completed and the site fully operational within 12 months.