North East & Yorkshire

New Marfleet development targets Hull’s Environmental Technologies sector

Works are well underway on a £15.8m project to transform the former Humbrol Site in Hedon Road, east Hull, into a high-tech ‘green’ park. Marfleet Environmental Technology Park is being developed by Warmsale, an associated company of Stoneferry Estates and Innovating Space Ltd, and is expected to create around 300 jobs, with a further 40 construction jobs. Martin Dixon Ltd were the electrical and mechanical contractors on the project.

The project is being carried out by Hull based main contractor George Houlton and will include the refurbishment of the central high bay warehouse space – comprising around 60,000 sq ft of factory space – and a scheme of new services and infrastructure, bringing the total site area of the project to around 150,000 sq ft. Solar panels could generate around 10% of the sustainable development’s energy requirements.

The project would not have proceeded without ERDF grant assistance of £4.7m, provided with the help of Yorkshire Forward and the full help and assistance of the Hull City Economic Development and Planning Department.

Humbrol owned model airplane company Airfix manufactured plastic kits at the site for over 50 years. However, the factory had been vacant since 2006 and had fallen into dereliction due to vandalism and two invasions by gypsies. Plans to modernise and refurbish the existing buildings were approved in 2010.

The site will be split up into ten separate buildings with different uses, including warehouse distribution and manufacturing.

The old Humbrol factory, which comprises 60,000 sq ft of floor space and stands at 9m high, will be fully refurbished, with smaller buildings around the perimeter – the sizes of which will vary from 6,000 sq ft upwards. They will be predominantly clad in profile metal sheeting, with curtain walling and masonry to break up some of the elevations. There will be some ancillary offices to the front in a small 2-storey office block, which will feature contemporary horizontal cladding and glazing.

One of the key features will be the landscaped public open space to the rear of the site. In addition, car parking space for 212 cars will be created.

One of the companies to move into the development is Japanese chemical company Nippon Goshei UK, who produce Soarnol – a biodegradable packaging used mainly by food manufacturers to keep food fresh. Part of their 60,000 sq ft facility will house new machinery for producing bespoke, compounded grades of the product. Neill & Brown Global Logistics will occupy 40,000 sq ft of the total space to store and distribute Soarnol to customers throughout Europe.

The development will support Hull’s aim to attract investment in one of the region’s key target sectors, Environmental Technology. Hull is an ideal location for this sector due to the availability of supply chains and the proximity to dock and port related facilities. The project’s focus on environmental technologies addresses key issues of climate change, carbon footprint reduction, sustainable communities and renewable energies – all of which are components of the UK Sustainable Development Strategy.

MarfleetEnvironmentalTechnologyParkis alongsideHull’s new Enterprise Zone along a three-mile stretch ofHedon Road. The enterprise zone offers a variety of attractive start-up incentives, such as not having to pay business rates for five years (which could save companies up to £255,000 each) and the fact that developments linked to the renewable energy sector will not require planning permission. The 100% discount is only available to businesses moving in by April 2015.

Nick Ward from Alan Wood & Partners, who acted as the civil and structural engineers, architects, quantity surveyors and project managers for theMarfleetEnvironmentalTechnologyParkproject, said:

“We had to work around the existing buildings that were on site which included demolition and the removal of the old buildings, along with difficult ground conditions and a small amount of contamination, but it has been a reasonably straightforward process and work is progressing well.”

The project began in April 2011 and is expected to be complete in 2013.


Houlton were responsible for the first phase construction of the Marfleet Environmental Technology Park. The refurbishment of the 60,000 ft2 warehouse building, previously occupied by Humbrol for the manufacture of plastic Airfix kits, is now operated by Nippon Gohsei UK Ltd an existing client of Houlton.

The contact value of the scheme was £1.4m and was completed in August 2011.

Andrew Kingston, Houlton’s Director of Building & Maintenance said “We are delighted to have been involved in the first phase of developing the Marfleet Environmental Technology Park and this resulted in Houlton being appointed as the Main Contractor for the refurbishment of the existing 2 storey office block”.

This refurbishment will totally re-energise the site with the introduction of new aluminium curtain wall systems and hi-tech external profile panels.

Houlton, a successful family owned Company has a building heritage spanning three centuries with a current turnover in excess of £30 million.

Building since 1879, the principles of fair play, teamwork & quality building are embodied into our culture. Our success depends on the ability to meet the requirements of our wide client base and we achieve this through focused teams of empowered construction professionals. The business employs over 120 people and operates across three main areas – Building & Maintenance, Construction and Developments.

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