The secretary of state has given the green light to proposals for the creation of a research and development centre at Whitley South by deciding not to call in the development plans.
The £250 million plan focuses on a huge expansion of the company’s research and development facilities with Jaguar Land Rover taking part of the new 60 acre site for a new campus development that adjoins their existing Whitley site.
The news cements Coventry and Warwickshire’s place as Jaguar Land Rover’s global HQ and at the heart of the company’s plans for global growth and means that work can now start on finalising the delivery of the road infrastructure, public transport links, green space and other improvements for local people
The decision, which means work could start on site late this year or early next year, has been welcomed by the cabinet member for business, enterprise and employment at Coventry City Council. Councillor Jim O’Boyle said, “I’m pleased with today’s news. This development will further cement Coventry’s place at the heart of automotive innovation, growth and success and its great news now and for the many talented and ambitious young people who live here and who can now aim for a job at Jaguar Land Rover. This news is also terrific for the many smaller firms in the area who already work with JLR and who will also benefit from their expansion.
“Now the real work begins to make sure the development is also a good neighbour - with plans to open up new areas of countryside and improvements to some of the busiest road junctions in the area.”
The LEP is bidding for a government grant of up to £40 million to support the provision of the public roads and 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.
Leader of Warwick District Council, Cllr Andrew Mobbs said “This is great news. It is an important step towards the development of Whitley South as a major employment site for the sub-region and one that directly supports JLR’s expansion plans and the consolidation of their global research and development operations within Coventry and Warwickshire. The site is entirely within Warwick District but to bring it forward we have worked closely with our colleagues in the City Council as well as with JLR and the decision demonstrates the value of this close partnership working. The next stage of this work will see further dialogue as the detailed design and layout for this sensitive Green Belt site begins to be finalised but I’m particularly pleased that the approved plans include the creation of new areas of open public space and a country park between the new development and Baginton village”.
Leader of Coventry City Council, Cllr George Duggins said, “This is really fantastic news, a real boost for the city and further proof of our motor city heritage and our motor city future. There is lots of detail to look at but this is a really important hurdle cleared and one which means we can get on with things.”
Jonathan Browning, chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This a hugely positive step and one that should now see major investment into the region and many new jobs with it. Jaguar Land Rover is a major success story for Coventry and Warwickshire and this news will see that continue long into the future.
“It’s yet another vote of confidence in this region as a place to do business and as a place where international companies want to invest for the long term. As a LEP, we are bidding for further investment into the infrastructure in and around that area and this latest development can only serve to bolster that bid.”