Panattoni Group swoops in on Swindon’s Honda site

By Ben Carey on 26 March, 2021

The South Marston Honda site in Swindon has been sold to the Panattoni Group, Europe’s largest developer of new build industrial and logistics facilities.

Pledging £700 million of future investment, the Group, which is also building a warehouse for Amazon at Swindon’s Symmetry Park, says it hopes to attract new employers and provide for existing businesses looking to expand in Swindon.

According to Business West, Panattoni intends to bring the 370-acre site into operational use on a fast timescale, with jobs created during a repurposing period and then when the site becomes operational during 2022.

Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West, said, “This brings us to the next stage in the formal end of an era for Honda’s involvement in Swindon but opens up a new chapter for the town. The past two years since the first announcement of closure in February 2019 have been a period of considerable uncertainty for both workers and Swindon itself, so this is good news and puts an end to much speculation and concern that the site would lie empty.

“We are very glad that the site will be retained for employment use and it appears that the number of jobs created will be equal or greater than currently employed by Honda. It is also encouraging that the turnaround into its new use will be quick. It will be a boost for economic recovery in the region over the next two years.”

Susie Kemp, Chief Executive of Swindon Borough Council, also welcomed the news. She said, “The new opportunities outlined by Panattoni will be a major step in Swindon’s rejuvenation following Honda’s exit.

“Their investment offers a significant boost to the local economy and we are excited by the prospect of this redevelopment creating thousands of jobs for Swindon and the surrounding area.

“We already have a strong working relationship with Panattoni following their recent development of the adjacent site, Symmetry Park, and look forward to working with them over the next year.”

The Honda facility is set to close at the end of July after which the site will be fully decommissioned.

Jason Smith, Director at Honda of the UK Manufacturing, said, “From our engagement with Panattoni and initial discussions with Swindon Borough Council, we are confident that the new owner can bring the development forward in a commercially timely fashion and generate exciting prospects for Swindon and the wider community.”

James Watson, Development Director for Panattoni, said, “Panattoni is committing to invest over £700 million into the site to attract new employers and provide for existing businesses looking to expand in Swindon. We will be working very closely with Honda and Swindon Borough Council, along with the community and its representatives to regenerate the site.”

Paddy Bradley, CEO of Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, added, “The sale of the site is an exciting step forward for securing economic opportunities for the local economy.

“Confirmation of the future of the site provides a major boost to the local economy and will provide certainty, especially in the current uncertain times the whole country faces.

“This decision is great news for jobs and the Local Enterprise Partnership very much welcomes Panattoni’s commitment to the growth of the local economy.”

Completion on the exchange is expected in Spring 2022. The new owners will start to regenerate and redevelop the site later that year subject to planning consent.