Honda has agreed to sell the site of its Swindon car factory to Panattoni, Europe’s biggest warehouse developer, for redevelopment.
The Japanese carmaker has been looking for a buyer for the 370-acre site since it decided to shut the factory in 2019. Production will end on 30 July.
Panattoni said it would invest more than £700m in the site to attract new employers and serve existing businesses looking to expand in Swindon. Companies with big operations in the Wiltshire town include BMW/Mini, Intel and Nationwide Building Society.
The logistics company will take over the site in spring 2022 and will start regeneration soon after. It did not give details of its plans.
Matthew Byrom, Panattoni’s UK managing director, said: “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.”
Unions said Honda’s decision to shut its only European factory and move production to Japan was a “shattering body blow” to the UK car sector. The closure will affect 3,500 Honda workers and businesses in the supply chain.
The Honda factory employs many skilled, unionised and relatively well-paid workers. Warehouses, one of the UK’s growth sectors as online shopping soars, do not usually offer comparable jobs.