A Herefordshire firm that makes specialist aircraft parts has been told it can go ahead with a new factory in the Rotherwas industrial zone.

Techtest, part of the HR Smith group, makes emergency locator and testing equipment for civil and military planes.

With planning permission now granted, it can proceed with the 3,100-square-metre plant on a vacant plot in Hursey Road, part of the Southern Magazine area of the zone southeast of Hereford.


This will bring “at least 50” new full-time jobs, and will include a “small” apprentice school to train up more skilled workers locally, according to the firm’s planning application.

Of similar proportions to those nearby, the “traditional” north-light building will have a multi-pitched roof with large north-facing roof panes to maximise daylight, and roof-mounted solar panels.

The group already employs 328 locally, making it one of the largest employers in the Rotherwas enterprise zone, where it already occupies ten buildings in addition to its base in Kingsland.


New developments in the enterprise zone are covered by a “local development order” (LDO) which streamlines the planning application process. For this reason, no public comments were taken on Techtest’s bid.

Planning officer Heather Carlisle concluded its proposal met the requirements of the LDO, the landscaping plan around the factory had been improved, and there were no objections on highways grounds.

“The provision of car sharing space and EV (electric vehicle) charging points is welcomed,” she added.

Among conditions with the permission, building work has to start within a year, a travel plan must be submitted, and investigation into possibly contaminated land at the former wartime munitions manufacturing area completed first.