Wakefield firm to move HQ for first time since 1921

Machine manufacterer Group Rhodes Managing director Mark Ridgway.
PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
Machine manufacterer Group Rhodes Managing director Mark Ridgway. PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

Machinery manufacturer Group Rhodes is relocating to new premises for the first time in almost 100 years as part of a huge restructure programme.

The Wakefield-based company, which makes machinery for engineering firms in the aerospace, composites and brick industries, is investing £6m in the move to a 47,609 sq ft refurbished building at Greens Industrial Park in the city.

About 85 staff from its two Wakefield sites will relocate to the new premises.

The move, which will take six months to complete, is part of a major restructure after Group Rhodes was forced to move out of the defence sector last year due to volatility in Pakistan.

The business, which currently has its operations in Belle Vue and Thornes Lane as well as an operation in India, wound down two of its divisions leading to job losses.

Challenging market conditions forced the business to conduct a reorganisation at the expense of its Slater & Crabtree and Joseph Rhodes operations, the latter of which is nearly 200 years old.

The remaining divisions of Rhodes Interform, Craven Fawcett, Beauford Engineers, Rhodes Environmental and Hallamshire Engineering now operate under a new structure headed by the Group Rhodes parent company.

In recent years the company has more than halved its 190 staff.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post yesterday, managing director Mark Ridgway said the company’s fortunes were looking up after winning major contracts with Boeing, Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and AMRC in Rotherham.

He added: “The business was established in 1824 and we have only moved twice in our history, the last time was in 1921.

“We have huge issues with heat retention in our current Belle Vue building, which uses oil, and we also have a steam boiler. There are several drops in the floor and we were quoted in the region of £1m to fix the roof.

“The new building is all on one level and it allows us to bring everyone together which will be great for the company.”

JLL and Vickers Carnley are agents at Greens Industrial Park.