Construction and Infrastructure

Aircraft developer lifts off lid on plans for £40m investment near M5

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 17 June 2020 14:33

Tewkesbury’s biggest employer and a major name in aerospace has revealed one of the “biggest deals of the year in manufacturing” and pledged its commitment to Gloucestershire.

Already embedded near the town, to the East of the M5, the American giant Moog, has had links with the county going back to the time of Sir George Dowty in the late 1950s.

It licenced the legendary Gloucestershire engineer and businessman to manufacture the Moog Servo Valves in 1958, establishing its own plant here 10 years later and remaining to design and manufacture aerospace test systems through to Formula 1 subminature servo valves.     

In a partnership with Solihull-based developer Barberry Industrial Moog plans to build a 184,000 square feet centre of excellence for its Aircraft Controls Segment on a 10-acre site at Ashchurch.

Mike Dawson, chief executive of Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: “It is great to see one of the largest employers and cutting edge engineering companies in Tewkesbury making a long-term commitment to Gloucestershire.

“Moog’s commitment demonstrates the accessibility, infrastructure and demographic of Tewkesbury and we hope it will attract other big names to do the same.

“As part of the Garden Town Initiative we have issued an expression of interest to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to support with further investment for other infrastructure and highway upgrades, also demonstrating our commitment to the future success of this location.”

It is well known that GFirst LEP sees the development of the county’s motorway junctions and the land close to as key to the continued economic prosperity of Gloucestershire.

Barberry, also an investment company, controls the site at the A46, near junction nine of the M5.

Its agreement with Moog is described as “an off-market deal,” which sees the site pre-let to Moog on a 35-year lease.

Moog’s Tewkesbury Aircraft Controls Segment operation is the global centre of excellence for design of servo valves and has a large engineering division housed within its existing facility.

An application for planning consent for the new facility will be submitted to Tewkesbury Borough Council this month (June), with construction scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2021.

According to Barberry the building will be “designed to be a carbon neutral building, built to a BREEAM Excellent standard”.

The facility will incorporate engineering and administration offices and is expected to be operational in 2023.

The facility could expand to a total of 207,000 square feet.

Jon Robinson, development director and shareholder of Barberry Industrial, underlined how significant the positioning of the Tewkesbury site was.

Mr Robinson said: “This deal represents an excellent piece of business by Barberry, completed in a competitive situation, and is one of the largest deals this year in the UK warehouse and manufacturing sector.

“The new development will provide Moog with a high-quality state-of-the-art facility with easy access to the M5, the M50, the M42 and the motorway network beyond. It will bring substantial investment to the region, safeguard the employment of a highly-skilled workforce while creating many new jobs.”

The new facility will help foster further growth in Moog’s engine and flight control products for military and commercial aerospace programmes.

Moog is understood to see the expansion as an integral part of its commitment to long-term manufacturing and sales in the UK.