Jaguar Land Rover plans to build new complex near Kenilworth

Once home to RAF fighter squadrons, Honiley will be a centre for specialist engineers at Jaguar Land Rover.
Once home to RAF fighter squadrons, Honiley will be a centre for specialist engineers at Jaguar Land Rover.

Jaguar Land Rover is putting down more roots in the area with plans for a specialist automotive complex on the old RAF Honiley airbase at Fen End near Kenilworth.

The development will be home to around 300 staff in its Vehicle Operations, a specialist group of automotive engineers which prepares and refines a range of vehicles for global events and product launches.

JLR said it chose Fen End because of its location and its test track facilities – a former runway.

If Warwick District Council grants planning permission for the centre, staff from Gaydon and Whitley and Browns Lane in Coventry will move there.

The company bought the 200-acre site last September and it is already home to around 350 JLR information technology staff who work in existing offices on the site.

JLR was not able to say how many new job may be created, but a spokeswoman said: “We are a growing business and we expect that new jobs may be created as a result of the Vehicle Operations team’s relocation to Fen End, although it is too early for us to say how many. Our intention is to develop the site for the long-term future.

“We have chosen to develop Fen End because it is perfectly located within a short distance of our engineering and manufacturing centres.

“Our plans will also see us improve access within the site helping to prevent traffic disruption on local roads.”

In 2006 plans were unveiled to create up to 1,000 jobs on the site with plans for a £200 million Formula One-standard factory.

Motorsport company Prodrive said it could eventually house a new Formula One team and Warwick District Council gave planning permission for development of what was to be known as The Fulcrum.

The planning permission covered an advanced engineering research and development campus, a conference facility called the Catalyst Centre and new access road, a roundabout, parking and landscaping.

However, following changes in Formula One racing, Prodrive’s shelved its plans.

JLR has embarked on a consultation process with residents and a public exhibition will be held at Berkswell and Balsall Rugby Club, Honiley Road, Meer End.

A JLR spokeswoman added: “We want to work in harmony with residents and businesses in the area, to ensure that local people are comfortable with our plans and see our company as a long-term neighbour.”

The exhibition is open tomorrow (Friday), from 3pm to 7pm, and on Saturday from noon to 5pm.

For information on JLR’s plans email consultation@jlrfenend.co.uk or call 0800 999 7224.