Story: Coventry Telegraph
Additions: Andrew Elphick
Coventry’s London Taxi Company has been given permission to build a new plant at Ansty Park.
Officials at Rugby Borough Council gave the go-ahead for a new £150million factory at a recent Planning Committee meeting.
The application is for a state-of-the-art facility for research, development and assembly of high technology electric vehicles, including the next generation of London taxi.
The base will also be the firm’s new headquarters and will include a substantial research and development department, supply chain team, global sales and marketing and administrative functions necessary to support the assembly operations of the new vehicles.
The plant would initially employ 550 staff with an anticipated rise to over 1000 in the next few years. The majority of the jobs would be new – though it is intended to move some workers from the company’s base in Holyhead Road, Coundon, which would remain open.
Last month, the iconic black cab firm earmarked the site near Coventry as a ‘leading contender’ for its new plant – which has been in the pipeline for over a year. The assembly operations will be based on low-volume production using skilled labour as opposed to automated high-volume production – with all components imported to the site from suppliers in the UK and abroad.
It is anticipated that approximately 12,000 vehicles will be produced each year based on a single shift system.
According to the plans, the rectangular building will provide a total over 25,000sq.m of floorspace with over 20,000sq.m in the main production/assembly hall and nearly 5,000sq.m in ancillary offices, reception/showroom and staff welfare facilities.
A service yard would be located on the south side of the proposed building and includes a dedicated area for the parking and storage of new vehicles together with ancillary structures including battery store, waste management area, a petrol storage area and filling point and car charging point. The layout also allows for the potential future expansion of the assembly hall on the east side with a ‘squeak and rattle” test track located on the eastern edge of the site to accommodate an extended facility.
Interestingly, it is noted that ‘in supporting information it is stated that the company intends to invest £200m to help develop advanced green taxi technology over the next five years with the aim of launching a zero-emission electric powered London taxi by 2018 and other vehicle variants of the same.
‘The development would initially employ 550 people with an anticipated increase to over 1000 employees in the next few years. The majority of the jobs would be new though it is intended that some employees will transfer from the company’s existing site in Coventry.”
Obviously this is great news on a number of levels. Firstly, the development would keep LTC in and around Coventry as a major employer. It would give the firm modern, expanded facilities which the firm needs if it is to expand production.
Secondly, the investment proposed (some £200m) is more than that previously suggested, and will generate a hundreds of manufacturing jobs, taking total employment at the firm locally s high as 1000 .
Thirdly, the plans would suggest – for LTC at least – a significant increase in output from a few thousand to some 12,000 units a year.
Fourthly, the development would include ‘state of the art’ facilities for the research, development and assembly of hi-tech electric vehicles, including the next-generation London taxi. The new facility would be LTC’s new HQ.