A FORMER Laura Ashley building in Newtown is to get a new occupier after a Welshpool manufacturer announced plans to expand into the site.

The Welsh Government has put up a £232,000 grant to support the move for Boys & Boden to expand its staircase manufacturing arm, Pear Stairs, to the site in Newtown.

The plans will safeguard the company's existing workforce, but will also mean 25 new jobs in Newtown.

The regional builder's merchant which has traded since 1985, will move due to a space shortage at the Pear Stairs, which makes and delivers staircases across the UK.

Boys&Boden Limited's managing director, Dean Hammond said: "The size of the opportunity that can be realised by moving to the new site in Newtown will enable us to not only safeguard the 62 existing jobs of our skilled wood workers, CAD designers, estimators and administrative staff, but also increase the workforce by 40 per cent through the creation of 25 new jobs."

"We have outgrown our current site in Mill Lane, Welshpool, through continued year-on-year growth, and our new factory has been designed to absorb our current and future expansion plans.

“These are very exciting times, and we are proud to be a long established major employer in the area and care about how we support the communities across Mid-Wales.”

He added that the move will also give the Newtown site a complete infrastructure overhaul, as it is currently run-down.

The Welsh Government's Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said the company will receive a £232,000 property development grant to expand its staircase manufacturing division.

Mr Gething added: "I am delighted the Welsh Government has have been able to support Boys & Boden Limited with the rare opportunity to purchase a new site of this size, which will allow them to continue manufacturing in Wales.

"It will also create valuable new jobs in Newtown and the surrounding area and facilitate the growth of the businesses at what is a crucial time for the company."

Laura Ashley closed its manufacturing sites in 2020 after a lengthy period of decline for the famous business, with only its brand name, archive and intellectual property bought out by multi-national company Gordon Brothers.

That left empty spaces in Newtown, one of which will be filled by Pear Stairs. Earlier this year Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Hilltop Honey, another growing local business, at another former Laura Ashley site.