Handover of £8m new manufacturing building to 'set the tone' for Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

An £8m project to build a hi-tech manufacturing facility at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone has been handed over to its new occupants.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 3:30 pm

Preston-based Eric Wright Construction has completed work on the 40,000 sq ft commercial building, which will be the new headquarters for specialist carbon fibre components maker, Multi-ply.

The building, seen as the type of business which could set the tone for the area as a technological centre with high skill, high value jobs, is owned by Blackpool Council as part of the £75m scheme aiming to create 5,000 jobs over its 25 year lifespan.

Multi-ply will relocate 70 staff from its three existing sites in Inskip to the purpose-built factory which it will occupy on a 25-year lease. The new premises will enable Multi-ply to drive forward its expansion plans, expecting to initially create 16 new jobs with up to 100 further staff appointments over the next five years.

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The handover of the new Multi-ply carbon fibre factory on Amy Johnson Way. Pictured, left to right, are Stephen Knowles, Rob Green, Coun Mark Smith, Lucas Morgan, Sue Bourne, Peter Bourne, Helen Houghton, Darren Dowdall, Hannah Kirby, Andy Whelan and Rory Dillon.

Founded over 30 years ago by Peter and Sue Bourne, Multi-ply is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of carbon fibre components, particularly items for the medical sector such as parts for mammography machines and scanners.

The business was recently acquired by MedCap AB, a Swedish investment firm which specialises in medical equipment, but the Bournes are remaining in place until the complete transfer to the new site, due to take place in January.

Designed by North West-based architectural, planning and building surveying practice Cassidy and Ashton, the £8m building was delivered on time and to budget by Eric Wright Construction, on behalf of Blackpool Council with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal funding.

Darren Dowdall, managing director at Multi-ply, who was handed the keys to the building by Stephen Knowles from Eric Wright Construction said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive the keys to our new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.

Members of the team at Multi-ply who will be moving into the building in January, Hannah Kirby, Lucas Morgan, Darren Dowdall and Helen Houghton.

“This strategic investment has been core to our long-term growth strategy that enables us to rapidly scale our manufacturing capabilities so we can simultaneously expand our rapidly growing customer base.”

“A creative and dynamic collaboration with Eric Wright Construction and Blackpool Council over the last 18 months has resulted in an incredible landmark, 'NeXus' with its striking magnitude an extraordinary addition to the Blackpool Enterprise Zone."

The work began in November last year on a piece of unused land at the east side of the huge enterprise zone. Construction teams had to overcome problems with a high water table, peat and sand below ground.

Stephen Knowles, special projects manager for Eric Wright Construction said: “Despite the challenging working environment over the last twelve months, the team has dug deep to complete this superb new facility as planned, something of which we are extremely proud.

Handover of new Multi-ply carbon fibre factory on Amy Johnson Way.

"We have a longstanding relationship with Blackpool, having delivered in excess of £130m of construction projects in the town in the last decade and we are absolutely delighted to add this superb new facility to our list of major commercial, community and infrastructure projects.”

Coun Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Job Creation said: “This new building is the latest addition to Blackpool’s Enterprise Zone, a strategically important site for the town and we are delighted to welcome Multi-ply to its new headquarters.

"This sets the tone for the enterprise zone in the future, and companies like this should provide good quality jobs for the students and young workers of the future in Blackpool, to help keep our best talent in the area."

Rob Green, head of the enterprise zone for Blackpool Council said: "This is a flagship for the enterprise zone it sets a new standard for quality of development and the nature of businesses we are trying to establish here. It is hi-tech company grown form local roots which is going to expand here.

"I think we will see more hi-tech companies coming in over the next ten years. We want a diversification of offer in Blackpool and wee can encourage local talent to stay here and invest here. We have a big pipeline of enquiry at the moment, particularly around the data sector on the back of the Aqua Comms Atlantic cable and a couple of other big developments in early discussions."

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