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Council leader pledges to help future of car manufacturing in district

Stratford Editorial 12th Mar, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE LEADER of Stratford District Council has pledged to do all he can to ensure the future of car manufacturing in the district.

It comes after Aston Martin announced it had chosen St Athan in Glamorgan as the location for a new factory to build its new DBX crossover model.

The world-famous manufacturer, which has its headquarters in Gaydon, was understood to have been considering a site in the district alongside five others elsewhere in the UK.

Council leader Chris Saint confirmed a ‘strategic property review had been undertaken’ as part of the selection process and ‘significant progress’ had been made to find a partner that was needed to progress any deal ‘due to the scale of the proposal.’

The luxury car maker was also thought to be looking at a site in America for the production of its DBX SUV crossover.

But bosses opted for the new site in south Wales, which is currently used by the Ministry of Defence, after being impressed by the ‘quality, speed and cost of the Welsh Goverment team’.

Coun Saint said he was pleased Stratford had made the shortlist of potential sites and welcomed the company’s decision to build its DB11 and RapidE models at Gaydon in a move it is hoped could create around 250 jobs.

He also confirmed he had been in touch with Secretary of State for Business, Skills and Innovation, Sajid Javid to ensure the council could have a better dialogue with Aston Martin over any of their future requirements.

The recent announcement by the British company comes shortly after it said it would be slashing 300 staff before the end of 2015 as part of a ‘major restructuring’ of the firm’s administration and technical departments.

Speaking about the decision to choose Wales over Gaydon, Aston Martin’s chief executive, Dr Andrew Palmer, said: “During our 103-year history, Aston Martin has become famous for making beautiful hand-crafted cars in England.

“Through a detailed evaluation of over 20 potential global locations, we were consistently impressed with the focus on quality, cost and speed from the Welsh Government team.

“As a great British company, we look forward to St Athan joining Gaydon as our second centre of hand-crafted manufacturing excellence.”

The new 90-acre facility is set to be built early next year and production is expected to start in 2020 – creating up to 750 jobs.

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