“Gigafactory” plan for a green belt site near the M54

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The “gigafactory” is intended for a site located just 13 km from the Jaguar Land Rover factory, on the i54.The project could add more than £ 1 billion to the region’s economy, creating much-needed jobs and strengthening the West Midlands’ reputation as a center of excellence for the automotive industry.

The Department of International Trade has been looking for a site in the UK where companies could build a giant gigafactory, manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, as the market is expected to increase significantly over the next few years.

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A potential site for the plant has now been proposed on land belonging to Bradford Estates, at exit 3 of the M54.

The Bradford Estates sought council support to build up to 3,000 homes and commercial land in what would actually be a new town north of the M54 and west of Tong.

However, the organization says it has also worked with the Shropshire Council on a government bid as a potential site for the plant.

Viscount Alexander Newport, General Manager of Bradford Estates, said: “I can confirm that we have worked with the Shropshire Council on its submission to the Department of International Trade describing our J3 development site as a potential location for a gigafactory.

“We were very happy to be asked to help and believe that this type of project would be a huge boost for Shropshire and the wider local economy at a time when the county and the country need to focus on the post-Covid takeover. . ”

The Shropshire Council has yet to decide to support Bradford Estates’ plans.

Contacted to find out if he had nominated, a spokesperson for the council said, “For reasons of confidentiality, we cannot comment at this stage, but such proposals would be subject to inclusion in the local plan.”

Investment

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street was keen to bring a gigafactory to the area, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government “would support this vision” in a speech to Dudley earlier this week.

Street said: “It is no secret that I am determined to bring a gigafactory to the West Midlands, and I was very encouraged by the Prime Minister’s remarks to Dudley last week when he said it would support the vision of our region to become a global center. of battery technology.

“Not only will a gigafactory make substantial investments in the region, but it will also help create and safeguard thousands of local jobs – both directly and in the automotive supply chain.”

Lord Newport, whose plans for the site have already met with strong opposition, said it could have “regional, if not national, strategic importance”.

He said: “We believe our proposal for J3, which would provide 8,000 jobs on 1.8 million square feet of new commercial space and 3,000 new sustainable homes, while injecting an additional £ 390 million per year in the local economy, is exactly the type of project the government has in mind when it talks about the essential improvements to Britain’s infrastructure and skills that are needed to stimulate economic recovery through the United Kingdom.

“In addition, the request clearly shows that the Shropshire Council understands that J3 is a site of regional, if not national strategic importance, especially since we understand that it is the only one they have proposed. “

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