Plans for £20m research facility in Broughton a 'game-changer'

Reporter:

Rory Sheehan

THE Welsh Government has submitted plans for the first part of a new multi-million pound research facility.

Flintshire Council’s planning department has received proposals for the first part of a £20 million Advanced Manufacturing and Research Institute at the Airbus factory site in Broughton.

The summary of the proposal submitted with the application states: “It will be a flagship building designed to showcase and support the most innovative advanced manufacturing techniques.

“The facility will comprise research and development workshops for Airbus to develop its Wing of Tomorrow programme which is to design aircraft wings which are cheaper, faster and more easy to assemble using advanced metallic or composite materials.

“There will also be workshop space for other, complementary research and development businesses to create a research and development hub for collaborative advanced manufacturing.

“There will be times when operations are confidential as well as time where it is appropriate to share knowledge and expertise with school, colleges and other interested parties.

“The facility has been designed to be flexible with viewing galleries to allow insight into the work being carried out which also have screening for confidential work.

“The location and orientation of the facility within the available land has been chosen to front Chester Road and provide a proud, statement building which also maximises the opportunities for future development of the remaining development plots.”

These plans are the next stage in the development of the facility announced by economy secretary Ken Skates, expected to be up and running by 2020 and building on existing infrastructure already in action such as Coleg Cambria University Centre.

Funding has been agreed with two separate facilities planned at Broughton and one close to the Deeside Industrial Park.

The new institute will have a strong focus on advanced manufacturing sectors including aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food.

It will deliver ‘game-changing’ support to key manufacturing companies as well as multi-sector supply chain companies and the broader economy, and is geared to increase productivity, commercialisation, innovation and skills development.

The new institute is expected to drive a thriving competitive industry base which in turn will act as a catalyst for growth and jobs across the supply chain in Deeside, North Wales, the Northern Powerhouse and further afield.

Last July, Mr Skates said: “I am absolutely committed to delivering on my pledge to establish a £20m Wales Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute in Deeside which will focus on increasing commercialisation, training and productivity.

“If we are to continue to compete globally Welsh industry must remain competitive and this means adapting to modern techniques and understanding the potential opportunities offered by collaboration and changes in economy for example the fourth industrial revolution.

“The new institute will very much support these ambitions and I am genuinely excited by the impact it could have.

“The centre will be ideally designed and located to deliver benefits for Wales and to maximise opportunities associated with the Northern Powerhouse.”

Flintshire Council’s planning committee will make a decision on the proposals at a future date.

Email:

rory.sheehan@nwn.co.uk

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