A prestigious Innovation Park, catering for the high-performance engineering sector, is to be developed on the Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground and airfield site following granting of planning permission for three new high-tech buildings. The investment is seen as a major boost to one of Britain’s most successful industries and a key export earner.
Dave Walton, managing director of Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, said he was delighted the development had been given the go-ahead: "It means we can start the New Year in the knowledge that our new, ultra-modern development will bring opportunities and commercial benefits to what is a thriving industry – one that is contributing significantly to the national economic recovery.
"It also means that we can further embark on our mission to ensure that facilities at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground are world-class. And it certainly helps us to continue to enhance our site, having spent considerable time and investment over the past few years implementing features and facilities to reduce impact on the local environment."
Mr Walton said the new buildings would complement other recently-constructed units, themselves totalling 24,000ft². These are now home to four successful companies. All are involved in the automotive and aerospace sectors.
The largest of the three newest buildings, all of which will be served by a proposed reconfigured site entrance and access road, offers 18,000ft² of space. The next largest provides 15,000ft² while the third offers 14,000ft². All have been designed to the highest environmental and aesthetic standards and will be built by leading Midlands construction group, Westleigh Developments, of Enderby, Leicestershire.
Details of all of the companies seeking to move in to the new buildings will be revealed once contracts have been finalised. However, confidence is so high that two of the three companies have already sought construction designs that allow for expansion by up to 50% to accommodate anticipated future growth.
An increase in job opportunities on the site is high on the list of expectations once construction has finished – and was doubtless one of the many reasons that officials and elected councillors supported the planning application, believes Mr Walton.
A major attraction for occupiers of the Innovation Park – and all buildings at Bruntingthorpe – is the ability to access test tracks and other essential R&D facilities adjacent to their workshops. This distinct advantage in terms of efficiency and convenience sets the Bruntingthorpe Innovation Park apart from conventional industrial developments.
Another vitally-important attraction is the high level of security at the site which, until conversion to a vehicle proving ground in the early 1970s, was a USAF Cold War airbase. Some other key elements of the former airbase remain, including its two-mile runway, which is still fully operational allowing customers and visitors to land in any size of aircraft.
Since 1983, when the private Walton family company acquired the site, extensive improvements have been made and much modernisation undertaken. A number of new tracks and facilities have been constructed. As a result, a nucleus of high-calibre companies, all associated with the automotive and aviation industries, has been attracted to Bruntingthorpe to occupy offices and workshops on the site.
"We see the Innovation Park adding a new dimension to our activities at Bruntingthorpe and providing excellent opportunities for the high-performance engineering sector to flourish in what are ideal facilities in a central location in the heart of the UK," added Mr Walton.