LEADING businesses in Bognor Regis have welcomed Rolls-Royce’s planned £70m investment.
The famous car manufacturer hopes to become the first occupier in the long-awaited transformation of Oldlands Farm into an employment hotspot.
The plans for more than nine hectares of the site, off the A29 Shripney Road, will see Rolls-Royce Motor Cars use the site around-the-clock as a logistics and parts storage satellite to its Goodwood base to free space there for a bigger production line.
A planning application been submitted to Arun District Council by Bericote Properties, which is Rolls-Royce’s development partner.
A statement by planning experts Quod on behalf of Bericote says: “The proposed employment development will result in a high quality, sustainable development which will result in significant investment in the local area and contribute to the council’s priority of supporting and delivering development on strategic employment sites and in doing so bring hundreds of new jobs to Bognor.
“It will also act as a catalyst for future development on the surrounding sites.”
Rolls-Royce declined to comment on the reports last month it wanted to come to Bognor but the Observer reported in April that Arun had been approached by a major motor manufacturer about opening in the town.
The council paved the way last March for Oldlands Farm’s arable fields to be built upon when it gave planning permission for a range of uses on the site.
These included the industrial purposes which Rolls-Royce is seeking.
“It is anticipated that both of the units will be operated by a single tenant and used for manufacturing, storage and distribution purposes,” says Quod.
“The proposed employment development has the potential to create between 500 and 1,000 jobs and will result in a significant investment in the local economy.”
Rolls-Royce expects to start work on the first building this October, if it gets approval. Work on a second building should start next September.
The initial building will consist of a 19,600 sq m gross internal area. A further 6,000sq m are expected to be added in late 2017. The second building will comprise 8,250sqm gross internal area along with a 1,200sqm workshop. Another expansion, of 3,000sqm, is planned for late 2018.
Bognor Regis Chamber of Commerce chairman and president Nick Stuart-Nicolson welcomed the potential new jobs.
“This is a large-scale investment in the town. It will be a real boost to have Rolls-Royce here.
“But we will welcome any manufacturer who is committed to the town and wants to create much-needed jobs here.”
David Myers, the advisor to the town’s regeneration board, said: “This proposal accords with the board’s objectives of increasing jobs and improving skill levels while cutting out-commuting.”