A GROWING vehicle rental company has created jobs with the opening of a new branch and head office.

U-Drive bought a three-storey building behind its Old Wareham Road branch in Poole last December.

It has spent the subsequent months moving its support teams to the first floor of the Fancy Road building. The site is home to the central reservations team, insurance, accounts, marketing, HR and administration departments.

The ground floor is being turned into a repair workshop and printing and signage facility, with an improved reception area for the Poole branch office at the front.

The Old Wareham Road branch is being turned into an office and showroom for U-Drive’s sales division, Cars and Commercials. It will continue to house the MOT and service workshop, one of the biggest in the south.

The company said it had made the investment as a result of recent growth.

The development means there are around 40 staff based at Fancy Road, with five transferring from its Romsey office and 11 new jobs created.

General manager Richard Sutton said: “To purchase a building of this size is the next big step in U-Drive’s 36-year history. We operate a network of 14 branches across the south and in Wales and every branch team has contributed to the company’s recent growth.”

The new building allows all of U-Drive’s head office functions to be based in one place, which the company says has improved internal communications.

Mr Sutton said: “With all of our department managers working together in the same building, we can be more responsive to business changes and make strategic decisions much more quickly.

“The biggest challenge was moving our central reservations department from Romsey to Poole and setting up an entirely new phone system to deal with enquiries. But I’ve been really impressed with how the team responded.

“Everyone has been excited about the move and worked really hard to set up quickly and seamlessly. We were fully prepared and so I was pleased that there were no interruptions to our service during the move.”

U-Drive has been a family-run business since 1982, renting vehicles and specialising in leasing and commercial vehicle sales.

It has 14 rental locations in Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon, Somerset and Glamorgan, offering around 2,000 commercial vehicles and cars as well as specialist vehicles available for long-term and bespoke contract hire.

Branch manager Peter Shears said of the new branch reception: “It’s a great new facility for my team. The reception is well laid-out, looks really smart and has ample customer parking to the front. I’m sure it’s going to be very well-received.”