Heathrow delegation visits Bolton and Rochdale on tour of sites bidding to build regional ‘logistics hubs’
Greater Manchester has welcomed a delegation from Heathrow Airport as part of a nationwide hunt to create regional logistics hubs.
MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, will coordinate the delegation’s visit to potential sites in Bolton and Rochdale as part of an infrastructure programme that is expected to deliver 15,000 jobs in the North West.
They are two of 65 locations that are still in the running to be the off-site construction centres for the Heathrow expansion.
Logistics hubs will help ensure that businesses across the UK can form part of the airport’s supply chain, enabling Heathrow’s new runway to deliver a legacy of construction excellence across the UK.
Heathrow representatives will visit eight long listed sites across the North West region in the next few months, and aim to open a pre-qualification questionnaire process later this year.
The expansion plans are part of a national infrastructure project for the UK that is expected to deliver up to £16bn in economic benefits and up to 15,300 jobs across the North West.
Local councils welcomed the interest in Greater Manchester sites.
Interim director of place at Bolton Council, Gerry Brough, said: “We believe Logistics North represents an ideal location for one of Heathrow’s Logistics Hubs and look forward to welcoming the delegation.
“We have worked very closely with Harworth and together we will be demonstrating all the reasons why it would be an ideal location for one of the hubs.”
Logistics North is a large commercial development site. It already houses the likes of Aldi, Lidl and MBDA with more than 2,000 workers employed on site.
While John Searle, director of economy at Rochdale Borough Council said: “With its exceptional transport links, thriving logistics and manufacturing base and acres of employment space, we know that Rochdale is a fantastic place to do business.
“The fact that Kingsway is being considered for major projects like this shows that it is now being recognised nationally.”
There has been £55m of investment ploughed into Kingsway Business park in the last three years with businesses like JD Sports expanding their base there.
This announcement is the latest major milestone in the delivery of Heathrow expansion, and comes ahead of an expected Parliamentary vote on the policy framework in the first half of this year.
Tim Newns, chief executive officer, MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “As a longlisted destination, Greater Manchester welcomes today’s site tour as the next step in Heathrow expansion and the opportunity to transform the UK construction industry.
“We believe Greater Manchester represents an ideal location for one of Heathrow’s Logistics Hubs.
“Heathrow expansion is a truly national project that will benefit every region by spreading jobs, boosting productivity and boosting the construction industry outside of London and the South East.
“A Logistics Hub in Greater Manchester would bring huge benefits to local communities and businesses in the North West by creating jobs and supply chain opportunities and leaving a skills legacy for future generations.”
Heathrow is pioneering logistics hubs, where components of the airport will be pre-assembled before being transported in consolidated loads to the airport.
They are essential in ensuring Heathrow expansion delivers for the whole country by spreading jobs, boosting productivity and modernising the construction industry outside of London and the South East.
They will ensure that 60 per cent of procurement spend will be outside of London, spreading the benefits of local investment up and down the country.
As well as the direct benefits, new research from WPI Economics shows that, if adopted more widely, the approach could spur growth in off-site construction and lead to a productivity boost worth £30 billion for the industry outside of London by 2025.
Lord Deighton, Chairman at Heathrow Airport added: “Heathrow expansion is a once in a generation opportunity to transform the UK construction industry, build for the future and deliver a lasting skills legacy for future generations.
“All of this comes at a pivotal time for our country, as it prepares itself to leave the EU and where we need to build for our future in both travel and trade.
“An expanded Heathrow is for all of Britain and the Logistics Hubs are instrumental in our aim to ensure that expansion spreads the huge potential of its £187 billion in economic benefits across the UK, whilst minimising the impact on the airport’s local communities.
“Off-site construction is an innovative way for these balances to be met and we can’t wait to see for ourselves the opportunity we have in working with the best businesses in the country.”