Norton moving to stately home

Brit firm buys Donington Hall

NORTON has announced that it has bought the 220-year old, grade II listed Donington Hall just a mile from its current factory at Donington Park.

The firm picked up the stately property from former owners British Airways for an undisclosed sum and plans to move there, with production facilities and offices shifting to the modern 45,000 sq ft Hastings House building that’s on the Hall’s grounds. It’s not clear exactly what the original Donington Hall building will be used for.

Given the reborn company’s well-publicised problems over the last couple of years, with delayed deliveries and some vocally unhappy customers, the news of the purchase comes as something of a surprise. However, boss Stuart Garner says the move is required to accommodate the company’s growth.

Here’s Norton’s press release in full:

Norton Motorcycles has purchased the Donington Hall estate from British Airways including the Hall and its surrounding 25 acre grounds and the modern 45,000 sq ft Hastings House facility.

British Airways acquired Donington Hall and its’ surrounding 25 acre grounds as part of its deal to takeover Bmi in April 2012.

Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles, said “Donington Hall conjures up a uniquely British way to show style, strength and quality which are all great attributes of the Norton brand.  However, beyond the drama and romance of Donington Hall is a thoroughly modern 45,000 sq ft building (Hastings House) which will become the new Norton Motorcycles production facility and design offices. It became clear some time ago that we had outgrown our current location, to be able to move less than a mile down the road to an outstanding facility like Donington Hall is ideal. It will allow Norton to grow our manufacturing business with focus on ‘built in Britain by British hands’, export growth and job creation”.

Vance Williamson, Head of Property at British Airways, said “We are delighted to have reached agreement with Norton Motorcycles and we hope that they are able to grow their business from their new home. The integration of Bmi into British Airways has gone exceptionally well from an operational and customer service point of view and is already delivering extra benefits to our business. The deal to acquire Bmi included a total of 155 properties, ranging from the impressive Grade II listed Donington Hall to small airport offices around Europe. I am really pleased that the property team has also been able to sell, hand back or merge these properties in a very efficient and cost effective manner”.

Garner added, “We have worked with our local authorities and politicians to put the project together, special thanks go to N W Leicestershire Council and Andrew Brigden MP. We are also working with LLEP [Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership] to put together our job creation and export growth plans, by working with LLEP we are able to put together a Regional Growth Fund application to enable further funding to help accelerate our growth plans and bring more job creation to the area as soon as possible”.  We must also thank ASC Commercial Finance Nottingham for helping Norton arrange the best commercial funding for the purchase.

Andrew Brigden MP, said, “I am delighted to see that Donington Hall is now going to be put back into use. At the time it was vacated, I said I hoped it would be brought back into use as a business to provide local jobs. The fact a local manufacturing company like Norton are taking on the building and creating jobs is excellent news, and I am pleased that I was able to play a part in making this happen.”