News Archive


When St. Modwen heard that Ford and Car magazine wanted to profile the car-maker’s new limited edition model, the Focus RS500, at its site in South Ockendon, the company was only too happy to oblige.

As well as showcasing the vehicle, Ford, St. Modwen and Car arranged the visit to the site in order to meet the team of engineers who worked at South Ockendon in the 1970s and devised and built the original Escort Mexico. The site at that time was known as Aveley Vehicle Operations and also played a role in the development of the 1980s Sierra Cosworth.

The visit, which will be covered in the 16 June edition of Car magazine, was also an opportunity to take a look back at the history of St. Modwen’s site and take stock of the exciting plans for its future. St. Modwen acquired the industrial site from Ford in 2006 and is currently applying for planning consent for 650 new homes and public open space, which it expects to deliver to the market in 2014.

Nick Kay said: “It was great to welcome both the old and the new Ford cars to our South Ockendon site and bring these iconic vehicles back to their roots. It was a pleasure to meet some of the senior engineers who helped make the site what it is today – it was their inspired idea to take the saloon car and turn it into a sports model.

“The showcasing of the new Ford Focus complements our plans to breathe a new lease of life into this site. The development plans we have for South Ockendon are very exciting and will ensure its long-term future success.”

St. Modwen is helping UK manufacturing restructure its property estate and has strong links with the country’s car industry. St. Modwen is redeveloping a 300-acre former MG Rover site in Longbridge, Birmingham. Its vision is to create more than 10,000 new jobs and more than 2,000 homes alongside quality public realm and access to excellent transport links, all of which will establish Longbridge as a truly mixed-use model of sustainability.

Planning consent for the former Ford site in South Ockendon site is expected later in 2010 and in the meantime, the site operates as a managed industrial estate generating income of more than £1m per annum, which is secured until 2013. The site has enjoyed a series of successful lettings culminating in a deal for with Littlehampton Book Services – the book distributor took a total of 196,345 sq ft, the largest letting to a single occupier in the Essex region this year.