Motoring giant McLaren Automotive has signed a 20-year lease on a 75,000 square foot factory at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, with developers revealing they have had further inquiries from other players in the motoring industry looking to base themselves in South Yorkshire.
Brownfield regeneration and property investment specialist, Harworth, initially announced the deal for the bespoke site for McLaren in February.
The firm yesterday outlined the scope of the agreement, as well as the fact that it had signed a 15-year lease with an unnamed advanced manufacturer for a new 11,044 square foot unit on the site, as well as the sale of a 8.17-acre site to Taylor Wimpey to build a further 130 homes.
Owen Michaelson, the CEO of Harworth, told The Star's sister paper The Yorkshire Post that McLaren had chosen to make such a long-term commitment to the region because of the skilled workforce and the collaborative approach taken between the public and private sector, adding that it was speaking to other sections of the automotive industry about further deals for the site.
Mr Michaelson said: “This is the most exciting deal we have had this year in terms of what it does for the region. It underpins all the hard work that has gone in.
“Twenty years is a serious commitment. It is important to remember that this is not R&D. This is a manufacturing facility and an absolutely fantastic endorsement, and show of trust, in the Advanced Manufacturing Park and the vision that was had for it all those years ago when it started.
“We are delighted to have something from the car sector. All of the work that has gone into the site with the likes of Boeing, Airbus etc has put the region on the map in terms of manufacturing for aeronautical.
“Hopefully we can now make this a major vehicle manufacturing base. We have already had enquiries from associated industries and other parts of the supply chain.”
McLaren is expected to take occupation of the new unit in summer 2018, following practical completion.
The new purpose-built unit will act as McLaren’s new Composites Technology Centre, developing and building carbon-fibre tubs around which its vehicles are built. The move to the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) follows McLaren’s announcement in February that 200 jobs will be created at the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.
It is part of a research partnership with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, which is already based at the AMP at Catcliffe.
Mr Michaelson hailed the latest phase of the project for the AMP, which was set up in 2004 when the University of Sheffield moved its operations to the site. It is a collaboration between Harworth and Rotherham Council, Sheffield’s universities and the wider city region.
Mr Michaelson said: “This has been public/private partnership at its absolute best and has been a completely collaborative approach.
“McLaren could have gone anywhere but they can to here because of the support of the city region and the support of the university’s R&D offering.”
The sale of the land to Taylor Wimpey is the firm’s third purchase in the new Waverley area of housing, following previous land purchases in 2013 and 2015 for a total of 192 plots.
Ian Thomson, land director at Taylor Wimpey (Yorkshire), said: “Taylor Wimpey Yorkshire are delighted to be continuing our presence at the Waverley scheme.”