Ecological and environmental consultancy Naturally Wild has celebrated the firm’s 20th anniversary by moving into new Stockton offices as part of an ongoing expansion programme built on the success of long-term contracts across the country.
Despite boasting major contracts in the south of England, the Tees firm has resisted the temptation of moving away from the North-East, instead investing £200,000 in a two-storey headquarters on Cygnet Drive on the Bowesfield Industrial Estate with the support of a grant from Tees Valley Unlimited and loan support from Santander.
Naturally Wild, who plan to increase the size of their team to 11 with the recruitment of two more staff over the next two years, began life in the Guisborough home of managing director Graeme Skinner in 1996.
The move to new premises from the firm’s previous HQ on Skippers Lane in Middlesbrough caps an exciting 12-month period for Naturally Wild, who specialise in offering ecological surveys and assessments for protected species such as bats, great crested newts, badgers, reptiles, otters, water voles and breeding birds.
The firm now boasts long-term contracts with Taylor Wimpey in the South-West and South-East of England, whilst also carrying out work for a major company servicing Network Rail contacts in the two southern regions.
In the North-East, Naturally Wild recently carried out ecological surveys for PD Ports and have also conducted extensive ecological survey work ahead of construction commencing on a new large-scale renewable energy plant on the north banks of the River Tees.
They were also contracted to carry out ecological surveys ahead of the redevelopment of the former Spanish City amusement park in Whitley Bay, as well as the site of new housing developments in Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe and the site of the former Tall Trees night club near Yarm.
Managing director Graeme Skinner, pictured (above) with his staff, said: “Despite being proud of our major contracts in the South-East and South-West, we’re passionate about Teesside and want to build our business here.
“We were previously based in the south for five years and had offices in Fareham and Salisbury, but we returned to our roots here on Teesside and we’re committed to remaining here.
“A number of our biggest clients are based in the South of England but we’ve already proved that the distance has no effect on our ability to deliver a quality service on time.
“Of course, our cost base is considerably lower than it would be if we were based down south, whilst our new Stockton offices gives us outstanding road and rail links to pretty much anywhere in the UK”.
“We’d outgrown our previous offices. Now we’ve moved into two floors of office space providing four times the capacity; with room for up to 16 members of staff, which should fulfil our requirements for the foreseeable future.”
Skinner says his firm has grown from two to team of nine over the past five years.
“But I’m keen to ensure we don’t grow too far, too quickly,” he insisted.
“We have a small, tight team who provide a personal service to our clients and that’s something we don’t want to lose.
“Our work is increasingly in demand in acting as intermediaries between developers and council planning departments on everything required under current legislation; including ecological and environmental assessments, site visits, desk-based studies and reports to advise planners on whether building work may impact on nature.”