Agricultural machinery salesman Frank Miller and engineer Mike Scaife formed CLS in 1968 after they spotted an opportunity to deliver a range of services to the region that included earthmoving, site clearances, rotovating and general gardening.
Building on their humble beginnings, in the 1970’s Frank and Mike invested in larger machines and employed around 10 skilled machine drivers; some of whom are still with us today.
After a decade of steady growth for the enterprising partners, Frank’s son John started work at the company in 1978, taking over the reins as managing director in 1996 after his father died. Diversifying, John expanded CLS operations to embrace the burgeoning sports pitch, play park and landscaping markets.
In 2007 after sustained expansion of the company’s fleet; plant and machinery hire division CLS Selfdrive was formed. Originally focusing on tractor, trailer and forklift hire to the industrial and agricultural markets, CLS Selfdrive soon expanded its range to include horticultural equipment, groundcare equipment and heavy earth moving plant on both an operated and self-drive basis.
In 2010, we split our contracting and construction operations into two divisions - CLS Sports focusing primarily on natural and synthetic sports pitch construction, and CLS Landscape and Earthworks, focusing on hard and soft landscaping, bulk earthworks and civil engineering. This established the three divisions we have today; CLS Landscape and Earthworks, CLS Sports and CLS Selfdrive.
Bringing sons Stephen, Andrew and Jack into the corporate fold as the third generation of the Miller family has further strengthened the expansion and ambitions of CLS, as did the appointment of long-serving Brian Dunn to director of operations in 2010.
“Since I became Managing Director, the last 22 years are a bit of a blur, they’ve passed so quickly,” said John, speaking at our Park Farm celebration to mark 50 years in business.
From our small beginnings, we are now a major employer locally and committed to bringing on apprentices to become permanent placements among our workforce.
Project work now takes us across the UK, operating from four regional depots and running a fleet of mammoth earthmoving plant, machinery and specialised pitch installation equipment.
The customer base has diversified too, John said – from local residents, councils and leading independent schools to top football clubs, athletics stadia, national sporting hubs and `staycation` holiday lodge destinations.
“I’m so proud of the reputation we have earned locally, regionally and nationally for high-quality, reliable work. That reputation we have earned thanks to wholehearted staff commitment and the family culture that runs throughout CLS. Here’s to the next 50 years,”.
John Miller, Managing Director