A LONG-standing Bicester employer has pledged to stay in Bicester after a seven year search for a new site.

E.P. Barrus, which makes products include garden machinery and marine engines, has announced after the long search it has secured a deal to move site from Launton Road to the Graven Hill Development.

It said the move allows the business, which employs 170 people, can consolidate its operations under one roof at the new 16-acre site in south Bicester.

E. P. Barrus Ltd managing director Robert Muir said: "We are delighted to announce our exciting relocation plans in this, our centennial year.

"Our growth plans have been constrained by the size of our premises here in Launton Road and it has always been our intention to expand if possible our business within the Oxfordshire area.

"Only through the efforts and support of a number of key people have we been successful in finding a suitable, affordable site to enable us to remain in Bicester."

Barrus moved to Bicester from London in 1977 and said the move was based on its ideal location for road connections.

It manufactures and distributes a variety of products including marine, garden and industrial equipment.

Mr Muir added: "In addition to securing the future of our existing, loyal workforce, I am confident that we will be creating more job opportunities over the next few years in support of our long-term, strategic business growth.

"As our centennial strapline states - we are celebrating our first 100 years, gearing up for the next."

Barrus is expected to move into the new site by 2019 when phase two of the Graven Hill development is handed over from the Ministry of Defence.

It will be built on the edge of the site, which will eventually become the UK's biggest self-build site with about 1,900 self-build homes planned.

Graven Hill managing director Karen Curtin said: “We are delighted to welcome Barrus as the lead occupier for the Graven Hill site.

"Whilst retaining jobs in the town is vitally important, attracting a business with an enviable reputation for quality products is a coup and endorses our belief that Graven Hill is an ideal location for businesses due to its excellent central location and ease of access to both the national road and rail networks not to mind a fabulous place to choose to live."

Mr Muir added: "We are looking forward to the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for Barrus, and integrating into the new village community within the innovative, Graven Hill Development."