Thousands of new jobs in the automotive industry could be created in Coventry & Warwickshire after Jaguar Land Rover and Coventry City Council announced plans to consult on an expansion of its research and development centre at Whitley.
The news cements the city’s place as Jaguar Land Rover’s global HQ and at the heart of the company’s plans for global growth.
The plans focus on a huge expansion of the company’s research and development facilities at Whitley and propose a new campus development covering Jaguar Land Rover’s current site alongside part of a new 60acre site south of Whitley.
A planning application to develop the site is expected to be submitted to Coventry City Council and Warwick District Council by 8 February.
Jaguar Land Rover are expected to take half the 60 acre site with the rest of the site snapped up by tier one – immediate – suppliers to the manufacturing giant.
The announcement comes after months of detailed negotiations between Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Jaguar Land Rover.
The LEP is bidding for a government grant of £40million to build the infrastructure needed to support the expansion – including a new bridge across the A45 to link both sites. This follows on from and is in addition to the £10million worth of government funding for road improvements around Whitley that led to the company announcing £300 million expansion plans last year.
The scheme could also mean the creation of 30 acres of open woodland and countryside walks between the Lunt Fort, Baginton and the new campus.
Cllr Ann Lucas, Leader of Coventry City Council said: “This is a game changer for the city. This will further cement Coventry’s role at the heart of automotive innovation, growth and success.
“Our two world class universities, our can-do attitude and our ability to work with the private sector to deliver what successful manufacturers need if they are to stay and expand here have all played their part in convincing Jaguar Land Rover that Coventry is the right place to be at the heart of their expansion plans.
“Jaguar Land Rover – one of Britain’s greatest success stories – is putting its faith in this city to deliver its future and we will not let them down.
“I am so proud of the hard work that’s gone into making this deal happen from a range of people including senior officers at the Council, the LEP and Lord Bhattarcharya – who is such a champion of Coventry and who has done so much for this city already.”
Jonathan Browning, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is hard to over-state the importance of this announcement.
“It will provide new jobs and improved infrastructure and will help cement Coventry and Warwickshire’s place as a global centre of research and development in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector, which is a key economic driver for this area.
“It will also be heartening news for the many companies across the Midlands who have helped Jaguar Land Rover achieve its growth.
“We’re confident our bid for the funding needed for the infrastructure will be recognised by the Government as another signal of the LEP’s effective use of public funding on infrastructure projects. These have opened up key sites to allow private industry to deliver investment, growth and jobs.
“This funding should therefore reinforce Chancellor George Osborne’s recent comments about the strength of this area with the Government recognising the work of the LEP and our partners. At the same time, we are not relaxing, we know there is still plenty more to do to keep driving our local economy forward.”
Coventry City Council and Jaguar Land Rover will carry out public consultation on the scheme between 21 and 23 January. Local people will also be able to have their say on the planning application when it is submitted. If permission is granted work is likely to get underway on the scheme by the end of the year.