Flintshire planners are set to give the go ahead this afternoon to a multi million pound Advanced Manufacturing and Research Institute within the grounds of Airbus in Broughton.
The Institute which was first announced by Ken Skates AM Cabinet Secretary for Economy in 2016, will ensure Deeside and North Wales ‘remains a community at the forefront of aerospace development.’
University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has worked with Deeside Enterprise Zone Advisory Board, Swansea University, and Coleg Cambria to develop the new Institute in conjunction with Airbus and other companies.
The objectives of the development are simple but will have a meaningful impact on North Wales’ research and development capabilities.
Welsh Government seeks to create an Advanced Manufacturing and Research Institute which houses exemplar manufacturing research space of the highest calibre.
Airbus confirmed it will be the first anchor tenant for the new centre ensuring two-way maximum benefits for the supply chain and the creation of wider economic advantages.
Working with AMRC Sheffield as the key partner it involves the research and development test phase for new wing technology, called “Wing of the Future” which includes the prototype and delivery of design, engineering and a wing demonstrator at Broughton.
The Welsh Government is pumping £20m of funding into developing the Institute which will be split over two sites in Deeside, a further £10m of investment will come from project partners.
The second site will be a networking, training, business development and advice facility within the Deeside Industrial Zone.
The Institute will focus on research into and development of advanced manufacturing techniques and production processes for advanced manufacturing sectors including aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food.
Plans submitted to Flintshire County Council will see the construction of a flagship building ‘designed to showcase and support the most innovative advanced manufacturing techniques’ planning documents say.
The Facility located adjacent to Airbus’ Broughton site on Chester Road will comprise of a research and development workshops to develop the Airbus ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ programme designing aircraft wings which are cheaper, faster and more easy to assemble using advanced metallic or composite materials.
The new facility will be ‘placed to maximise the visibility and impact of the reception and office areas upon approach from the A55 past the Broughton Retail Park.’
‘The emphasis on the entrance and office spaces serves the brief’s requirements for a ‘centre for excellence’ – providing a public face to a complex industry – facilitating better interaction with interested parties.’
‘In this way, the design has been developed in order to showcase the innovative technology and reach out to the wider community.’ Planning documents say.
The Facility has been designed to be flexible with viewing galleries to allow insight into the work being carried out which also have screening for confidential work.
The proposed building will be 19 metres high which allows for cranes to cover the workshop spaces which will be single storey.
The adjacent ancillary office and welfare space will be four storeys, 22 metres high and comprise of office space on the ground and first floor with plant on the second, third and fourth floors.
Up to 160 people working at the facility daily with desk space for 140 people along with meeting rooms.
Break-out space for seating and coffee facilities on the first floor will provide flexible working space with viewing galleries across the different workshops.
This space will be used frequently for school and college groups as well as important visitors to the Institute.
Annually up to 800 people, the majority being school and college groups will visit the facility.
The proposal is also ‘future-proofed’ to ensure the building is adaptable to all possible prospective tenants, giving the building the opportunity to be ‘flexible far beyond its current tenants.’
In his report Andrew Farrow the Chief Planning Officer at Flintshire County Council said;
“Consultation on the application has been undertaken with Airbus given the proximity of the proposed development to Hawarden Airport.
Airbus have confirmed that there is no objection to the principle of development, subject to the need to control aspects of the proposed scheme to avoid conflict with safeguarding criteria.
This would include planting proposals, a Construction Management Strategy and proposed lighting and can be covered by conditions if Members are mindful to support the application.
In conclusion, it is my view that the general principle of employment development is supported as a complimentary use adjacent to the existing Airbus factory at Chester Road.”
It is also acknowledged that from an economic development perspective, that a number of highly skilled jobs are proposed which is welcomed in the current economic climate, and this is a significant factor in support of the application.”
The planning meeting begins at 1pm – you can watch it live here: https://flintshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/335016