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Planning application for Butler, Tanner & Dennis site

PLANS to redevelop the Butler, Tanner & Dennis (BT&D) site in Caxton Road, Frome for mixed employment and residential use are being prepared following the printing company’s failure to agree a new lease or part purchase with the site’s owners London & County (Frome) LLP. 

Legally, they can only remain on the site for a further 12 months. Their lease expires at the end of September 2013.

With no agreement between the parties, London and County have prepared plans which will provide a viable commercial future for the site should BTD leave next autumn.

Simon Blair of London & County says that they have offered BT&D every possible opportunity to secure an agreement, and stated, “We have a complete and detailed record of all of the meetings and letters over the last three years pressing the company to reach an agreement. We even met with Felix Dennis last year to try and move things forward but to no avail.”

Terms for a new lease or purchase of part of the site were sent to BT&D in May 2012 followed by a letter on the 3rd September warning Butler Tanner & Dennis’s chief financial officer, David Neale, that time to conclude an agreement was running out. London & County did not receive a response and was later advised by BT&D that it was unable to enter into any detailed negotiations whilst plans were being prepared for further financial restructuring.

Simon added, “Whilst BT&D have acknowledged our continued patience on this issue over the last three years, there comes a point when that patience has to be rewarded with action. Even today, we have still failed to receive a purposeful or detailed response to our requests. Given the past history, we have decided to progress a planning application to redevelop the site in the future for up to 4,000 square metres of new employment space together with open market and affordable new homes.”

Butler & Tanner Ltd sold the site to London & County on a sale and leaseback agreement in 2006 which allowed the company to remain at the Caxton Road site. The business was then acquired by Media and Print Investments PLC (MPI) which subsequently went into administration within eight months. Following the purchase of its equipment and assets by Felix Dennis, the new business informed London & County that it was working on plans to relocate to new premises within five years.

Simon said, “Clearly circumstances have changed and we have presented the company with a number of options – including them moving into reduced premises or purchasing the land they need on the site. We have not closed the door on BT&D, but we must have a detailed and commercially viable proposal from them in the very near future.”

London & County will be displaying its new plans for the site at a planning exhibition to be held at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Trinity Street, Frome on 8th November. The exhibition will be open to the public from 12.30 until 8.00pm.