By Scott Wright

A WATCH designer which relocated to Scotland from England earlier this year because of its opposition to Brexit has been named as one of the first tenants of a £1 million creative hub planned for Kinross.

Marloe Watch Company has announced its move to the site at Orwell Farm on the banks of Loch Leven after Perth and Kinross Council approved plans. It will be joined at the hub by architecture practice Studio LBA, which designed the proposed space located between Kinross and Wester Balgedie.

Marloe, which was founded in Henley-on-Thames, said the move is part of its long-term plan to expand its operation and bring the assembly of its mechanical watches to the UK next year. And it pledged that its relocation would bring training and apprenticeship opportunities to the area. The move to Kinross comes after Marloe founders Gordon Fraser, a Scot, and Oliver Goffe revealed that a Scottish base “sits better with our values” as a pro-Remain organisation as its announced it was switching its headquarters to its current premises in Perth from Oxfordshire. They expressed the view then that Brexit “certainly closes some doors for British business”.

Commenting on the Kinross switch, Mr Goffe said: “The move to the new creative business hub will mean we have reached a goal we’ve been working to for the last five years – to bring assembly to the UK, investing in Scottish talent and the return of watch production to UK soil. Perth was the first choice for us – Gordon is from the area –and, as a brand with adventure at its heart, being close to the Scottish Highlands is ideal.”

Lynsay Bell, managing director at Studio LBA, said: “This is an extremely exciting project for us – creating a hub for other local businesses to thrive within – a community that can all work, grow and collaborate together within this rural hub. The existing agricultural setting and character has been a key influence in the designs, in terms of scale, form and materials. The aim is for the development to feel rural and not to lose its historic roots.

“We always wanted to create a sustainable and environmentally conscious development, and this was really initiated at the design stage through the re-use of the existing agricultural buildings. Throughout construction, we are focused on minimising waste and using locally sourced materials and trades.”