Honda has announced that it has found a buyer for its Swindon manufacturing site, which is set to close in July.
The Japanese firm revealed today that industrial logistics firm Panattoni will be buying the site, with a legal handover expected in spring 2022 following Honda’s decommissioning of the plant.
Panattoni has already committed to spending £700 million on redeveloping the site.
Panattoni will start ‘regeneration and redevelopment’ from the early part of next year, with the move being called a ‘major step in Swindon’s rejuvenation following Honda’s exit’ by Susie Kemp, chief executive of Swindon Borough Council.
Honda announced a restriction of its global automotive operations back in 2019, revealing that it would be ceasing operations at its Swindon plant in the process. The closure of the plant ties in with the end of the current model cycle of the firm’s Civic hatchback, which has been created at Swindon by around 3,400 employees at the site.
Jason Smith, director at Honda of the UK Manufacturing, said: “We are pleased to have identified a capable new owner of the site. From our engagement with Panattoni and initial discussions with Swindon Borough Council, we are confident that the new owner can bring the development forward in a commercially timely fashion and generate exciting prospects for Swindon and the wider community.”
In a statement, Honda said that in order to leave a ‘positive legacy in the local community’, it would be looking at opportunities for small sections at the edge of the site that aren’t required by Panattoni to be ‘utilised by neighbouring communities’.
Panattoni has already developed the site adjacent to Honda – Symmetry Park – and will be working with Swindon Borough Council on the redevelopment of the car plant.
James Watson, development director for Panattoni, said: “Panattoni is committing to invest over £700 million into the site to attract new employers and provide for existing businesses looking to expand in Swindon. We will be working very closely with Honda and Swindon Borough Council, along with the community and its representatives to regenerate the site.”
Matthew Byrom, managing director of Panattoni in the UK, added: “The acquisition of the 370-acre Honda facility demonstrates our capabilities to work at scale. The re-development of this strategic employment site will deliver thousands of new opportunities in roles which underpin the operation of the local and regional economy.”