By Clifford Webb
British Leyland has submitted an application to the Department of Industry for permission to build a new car plant at Moon’s Moat, a 100 acre site at Redditch new town Worcestershire. Unofficiai reports say it will cost between £20m and £30m and provide work for 5,000. The proposed site is only ten miles from Longbridge, the group’s largest car complex employing more than 22,000.
A company spokesman said last night: “We are not in a position to give details because the project is only in the investigatory stage. We have applied for an industrial development certificate, but no decisions have been made on whether or not the project should go ahead.”
Sources close to British Leyland insist that the Redditch proposal is not the much publicized, fully integrated new car plant outlined by Lord Stokes last year. That would need a much bigger site than the one at Moon’s Moat which is itself the last big section of land available for industrial development in the new town. It is suggested-that the application is for a large engine and transmission plant.
Facilities at Longbridge for this type of production have become increasingly congested in recent years as Longbridge has been developed as the main engine and transmissions centre for Austin Morris. About 600 sales staff at Longbridge have been told that they may be moved to new accommodation at Redditch or Yardley, Birmingham. Mr Hal Miller, Conservative MP for Bromsgrove and. Redditch, and the party’s link man between the Shadow Cabinet and the motor industry, yesterday saw Mr David Andrews, managing director of the Austin Morris power and transmissions division at Longbridge.
Afterwards he said: “I wanted to lift the secrecy. British Leyland has just con- firmed for the first time that it wants the site north of Redditch for both relocation and expansion.”