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Wrightbus planning major new factory at Ballymena site

By John Mulgrew

Wrightbus is planning a major expansion of its Ballymena in factory.

The bus-maker, which is one of Northern Ireland’s largest manufacturers, wants to add a new huge 200,000 sq ft factory to help assemble chassis for its products, including its EN-Drive system.

The company, which is best known for its red so-called Boris buses — named after former Mayor of London Boris Johnson —  also wants to add a car park for 600 vehicles, and has plans to build 75 new homes on the area of land at the rear of its Fenaghy Road plant.

Planners working for the company say it has occupied the current site for around 30 years and that “due to its considerable success” it has been “developed to its maximum capacity”.

“This is far from ideal in terms of efficiency, and when the possibility of obtaining land adjacent to the Galgorm complex became a real prospect, they (Wrightbus) did not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Late last year Wrights Group also struck a deal to buy the JTI Gallaher plant in Ballymena when the production line halts later this year.

Speaking about the car park in a design statement, it says a new “dedicated car park” is needed “that will meet the needs of the whole complex”.

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