Plans for Wales’ fastest-growing businesses to site a new head office in Pembroke Dock will create many new well-paid jobs in the local area, county planners heard today.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee, meeting on Tuesday March 14, were recommended to conditionally approve an application by Darren Briggs, of Pembrokeshire-based petrol forecourt operator Ascona Estates Ltd for new offices at the Cleddau Bridge Business Park.

The Pembroke Dock site forms part of the strategic employment allocation known as Pembrokeshire Science and Technology Park.

Ascona has been based at the nearby Bridge Innovation Centre, Pembroke Dock.

A report for members said:“This full planning application seeks permission for the construction of new office and storage buildings to be used for workspaces, meeting rooms, staff gym and storage with associated vehicle parking and hardstanding.

“The proposed building would be occupied by The Ascona Group as its head office, with space for in the region of 90–100 employees.

“The Ascona Group currently operates over 60 retail sites around the UK and the proposed building would allow a central point for operation of the business.”

The plans are a revision of previously-approved schemes, members heard.

“Whilst the footprint of the proposed building would remain the same as previously approved, the extant permissions are for a two-storey office building, with this application seeking permission for a three-storey building,” the report said.

Llanion plans for Ascona head office
(Pic supplied)

At the March 14 meeting, agent Matthew Jones said the application was an expanded version of  previously-consented plans, adding: “The expansion of Ascona Group means additional staff are needed, new well-paid jobs in the county.”

He said it was expected a local contractor would be used, further boosting the local economy.

County Councillor Brian Hall
County Councillor Brian Hall (Pembrokeshire County Council webcast)

Councillor Brian Hall (pictured), who moved approval, said: “This is a successful company that have outgrown the units they’ve had in the BIC [Bridge Innovation Centre, Pembroke Dock]. I’m delighted to see this here; I move the recommendation with no hesitation at all.”

The application, also backed by Pembroke Dock Town Council, was unanimously approved by committee members.

Last year, The Sunday Times  ranked the UK’s 100 fastest-growing companies for the first time, with Ascona Group Wales’ fastest.

It was also the 32nd fastest-growing company in the UK, with £201m in sales.

Mr Briggs launched Ascona in Pembrokeshire in 2011, starting with the first fuel station at The Green in nearby Pembroke.

It was not until 2018 that he began to expand from two sites in the county to some 64 UK-wide, backed by investment firm Crestline Europe and Nash Business Capital.

Ascona’s retail partners include Nisa and Budgens.

Ascona, in its retail mission statement, says: “We call our process of transforming unloved forecourt assets ‘Asconarisation,’ turning independently-owned forecourts into cutting edge roadside retail destinations.

“Each forecourt is regenerated and upgraded to cater for the local community’s needs, with a view to sustainable and profitable growth.”