Swindon and Wiltshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) is making £250,000 available in a bid to make the Honda site in Swindon oven-ready for buyers.
The difficulties in
repurposing large key employment areas can often lead to uncertainty and extra
expense for developers. To make the site more attractive to buyers, SWLEP has
announced £170,000 of funding for an initial highways study to help unlock the
site and remove barriers to finding new tenants.
In addition, £80,000 in
funding will be made available for a further study into the potential energy
requirement for the site, looking at options for supply from renewable sources and from the possibility of on-site
generation of energy.
The 152-hectare site was originally
an airfield until the Japanese car manufacturer started developing it in 1988. With
Honda planning to close the factory in July 2021, the site’s future hangs in
Despite it being the
largest key employment area in Swindon Borough, currently less than 50 per cent
of the site is developed. With its large size and associated links to the
transport network it has the potential to be an employment area of national
The Swindon Borough Local
Plan supports further future development of the site, but some key challenges
still need to be overcome to create the best offer for potential investors.
Paddy Bradley, SWLEP CEO, said, “We are keen to support
Honda in its aim to sell the site to enable a new future use as part of its
Swindon legacy. We can make a tangible
contribution to that process by funding two studies, the output of which will
be important information for potential buyers of the site.
“The potential intensification of employment and land use on
the site means we need to ensure the risk to transport infrastructure and
capacity is mitigated at the earliest opportunity. We are also pleased to announce the study into
renewable energy options for the site which are commercially viable and support
our own ambitions for clean economic growth in line with our emerging Local
Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, added,
“I am really pleased the Swindon and
Wiltshire LEP is putting forward the funding to carry out these two important
pieces of work, which will be invaluable in ensuring the Honda site can fulfil
its potential as a strategically important employment area within the Borough.
“Undertaking this work now will support our ambitions for
attracting new companies to take Honda’s place and create thousands of new jobs
for our local economy,
“As a council we are already spending tens of millions of
pounds upgrading the road network around Honda, but it is crucial we understand
how any future uses of the South Marston site may affect our existing and
future highways infrastructure so we can put appropriate plans in place.”
It is hoped that with intensified development, the site could
up to 8,000 jobs, which is twice as many jobs as supported by Honda at its
Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said, “The
potential creation of up to 8,000 jobs is at the heart of ambitious plans for
this site, which is why it is great to see the government-backed Local
Enterprise Partnership unveil funding for two valuable studies to help drive
forward any redevelopment.
“These studies will provide crucial information around
transport links and clean energy supply to the site, paving the way for the
site’s expansion and helping uphold the area’s well-deserved reputation for
The highways study will be
prepared in collaboration with Highways England and will identify how the
highway network can be enhanced. This work will not only unlock the Honda Site’s full
potential as a prime employment area but will also help eliminate risk and
fast-track the formal planning application process for future occupiers of the