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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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100 jobs masterplan revealed by M-Sport

Plans have been revealed for a multi-million-pound expansion of M-Sport’s Dovenby Hall complex, which could create up to 100 jobs.

The rally business wants to move into road cars and build a research, development and testing operation.

It is part of a 10-year masterplan which could also see a top-class 60-bedroom hotel and 25 homes built on the edge of the estate.

Letters have been sent to 800 households close to Dovenby Hall.

Residents can attend an invitation-only consultation about the proposals on Monday, where plans will be on display.

The plans will be submitted to Allerdale council soon and, if approved, work could start later this year.

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport managing director, said: “We want to see the business develop and grow.

“This is for me the next logical step, particularly given the fact that the motor industry is the fastest growing sector of industry in the UK.

“It's important that we add value to the business.

“That’s what we would be able to provide for from this facility.”

Plans include the erection of a single wind turbine to produce power for the estate and new offices, as well as support buildings.

The development will focus on the 117,327sq ft M-Sport Evaluation Centre which will develop, test and evaluate vehicles for the roads.

M-Sport wants to work with manufacturers to create cutting-edge road cars.

It would be the only centre in the country where cars could be designed, built, tested and then fine-tuned with even minor parts tailor-made at one location.

Operations would focus on developing low volumes of cars that motor firms would struggle to put on big production lines, exploiting a lucrative niche market.

Mr Wilson said: “There are other test facilities in the UK, but they will not have the same technical know-how and facilities as we will have here.

“Someone will be able to come here and have access to a design and engineering team.

“We will have our own resources for manufacturing. It will be unique in that sense.”

The potential for 100 new jobs is in contrast to the situation M-Sport found itself in less than 18 months ago when 200 posts were at risk after Ford announced it was withdrawing funding because of the global economic crisis.

Mr Wilson launched a major operation to save the business, managing to cement M-Sport’s place as one of four manufacturers in this year’s World Rally Championship.

M-Sport also develops specialist Ford Fiesta rally cars for customers and has moved into racing as part of a deal with Bentley to develop and run a car for its new motorsport team.

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