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Approval nears for Bentley HQ expansion

Date added: 23/02/2018

Plans for luxury carmaker Bentley to expand its Crewe headquarters, which would be expected to bring economic benefits and investment into the area, look set to be given the green light.

The company has applied for outline approval for two production and manufacturing facilities, two covered links connecting one of the new sites to an existing operation, and an engine test bed, together with car parking, landscaping and associated infrastructure.

Also proposed is a gatehouse, security fencing and pedestrian turnstile.

The first of the two facilities proposed would have a floorspace of up to 226,000 sq ft, with the second site set to be smaller at about 80,000 sq ft. These are proposed for the existing car parking area to the north of the Legends Sports Centre and the site north again of this, respectively.

The engine test bed operation would be 48,500 sq ft and be built to the west of the Engineering Technical Centre.

A planning statement submitted to Cheshire East Council notes that the project would yield "important economic benefits" for Crewe and the wider borough. These include enhancing the working conditions and processes at Bentley's site, strengthen the carmaker's position in the luxury market, retain and increase the positive impact that the company has on the area, and the creation of both on and off-site construction jobs over the build period, with additional roles supported indirectly across the supply chain.

A report to councillors ahead of their planning committee meeting next week (28 February 2018) states: "With respect to the principle of the development more generally, it is important to recognise that Bentley Motors is a major employer in the area. This proposal is one of the key components in the long term vision to invest in production and manufacture at the plant.

"Thus, there are significant benefits arising from the scheme that would support future economic growth in the locality and the borough."

Councillors have been recommended to approve the application.

The company's Crewe factory was built in 1938 to produce the merlin engine, which powered the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, as well as the Lancaster Bomber. At its peak in 1943, it employed about 10,000 staff. Car production commenced in 1946.

Today, it has a workforce of about 3,500 working at UK headquarters.


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