Imperial purchases four Watts Truck Centre sites in West Country

Imperial Commercials, the largest independent CV dealer group in the UK, has expanded its operation with a share purchase of four sites belonging to DAF Trucks dealer Watts Truck Centre.

Sites at Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester and Yate take Imperial Commercials to 30 dealerships across the UK. Imperial Commercials MD Ian Oakes says Watts is a well respected DAF and Fiat Professional franchise operation and a great fit within Imperial’s existing franchises in the West of England.

Part of the deal will see Watts build a state-of-the-art dealership on 2.5 acres at Hempsted Lane, Gloucester for Imperial Commercials over the next two years.

Watts became Imperial’s landlord in March 2011 when it acquired the site from haulier Joseph Rice & Sons when they called it a day, three years after Imperial bought the parts and service operation Joseph Rice Truck Services from the transport company.

Imperial will relocate from Hempsted Lane to Watts’ site at Mercia Road, Gloucester while the construction takes place. John Thurston, Watts Group chairman, says the deal will enable the group to better focus its effort and resources on the remaining Watts Truck Centre sites at Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.  

“We are pleased to be building a new dealership for Imperial on our Hempsted Lane site which should provide outstanding levels of service to Gloucestershire businesses,” he says.

Hauliers snub A14 toll road plans

Hauliers in Suffolk say they would snub a toll road along a stretch of the A14 in Cambridgeshire after a survey showed clear support for the idea.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce says its poll of the business community in the county reveals just under 55% would like the option of a toll road near Fen Ditton.

However, more than two thirds (68%) also say they are not prepared to pay £5 to use it.

The snapshot survey, which involved hundreds of firms, will be handed to the government as part of its ‘A14 Challenge’, an engagement process seeking views on how to improve congestion.

But hauliers tell Commercial Motor that their experience of the M6 toll road has given them reservations about building one in East Anglia.

“I don’t know anyone that would welcome a toll road,” says Gordon Clouting, director at Felixstowe-based JDM Haulage. “If it was another lane, perhaps, but as regards revenue there’s nothing left in the pot.”

Charles Downie, director at Bacton Transport in Stowmarket, says it recommends drivers avoid the M6 toll road: “We would support anything that would speed up traffic flow in the region provided it doesn’t come at a cost,” he adds. “If the intention is to simply build a major new piece of highway and then expect motorists and other road users to pay for it without there being any benefit, as has proven the case on the M6 toll road, then invariably these schemes can become expensive white elephants.”

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce President, Dr Peter Funnell, says congestion problems in Cambridgeshire are strangling road transport in Suffolk: “Many of our members, including the major logistics operators across the county, tell us on a regular basis how congestion on the A14 has a major negative effect on their business.”