Japanese car giant Honda has sold its plant in England to a logistics firm, which is planning a huge investment in the site.
Panattoni will take over the 370-acre site in Swindon, which is being closed down by the carmaker in July.
Honda said the closure, announced in 2019, was due to global changes in the car industry and the need to launch electric vehicles.
We will be working very closely with Honda and Swindon Borough Council, along with the community and its representatives to regenerate the sitePanattoni
Honda Director Jason Smith, said: “We are pleased to have identified a capable new owner of the site. 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.”
Following the end of production on July 30, Honda will start decommissioning the Swindon site, which will be handed over to the new owners in Spring 2022.
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.”
Matthew Byrom, Managing Director of Panattoni in the UK, said: “The acquisition of the 370-acre Honda facility demonstrates our capabilities to work at scale.
“The redevelopment of this strategic employment site will deliver thousands of new opportunities in roles which underpin the operation of the local and regional economy.”
Susie Kemp, Chief Executive of Swindon Borough Council, said: “The new opportunities outlined by Panattoni will be a major step in Swindon’s rejuvenation following Honda’s exit.”
Unite regional secretary for the South West, Steve Preddy, said the union “cautiously welcomed” the sale, adding: “It is of the utmost importance that all stakeholders, including local and national government, Honda and Panattoni, ensure that manufacturers are given every incentive to make the site their home.
“Swindon and the whole of the South West have a proud manufacturing legacy, especially in industries such as automotive and aerospace.
“Not only is high-spec manufacturing crucial for providing secure well-paid jobs for our communities, but it is also essential for tackling the climate emergency and reaching net zero.”