Plans submitted for manufacturing and research centre in Darwen

By Tim Aldred

18 Sep 2023

Chapels

A planning application has been submitted for a two hectare site in Darwen to house a new manufacturing and research centre.

The proposals have been put forward by Barnfield Blackburn, a joint venture between the Barnfield Group and Blackburn with Darwen Council.

The Chapels site would feature eight smaller industrial unites alongside the main centre.

Sheffield University’s AMRC is in advanced talks to become the anchor tenant, with plans to house its first-of-its-kind Additive Manufacturing Accelerator there.

Perspex International is also developing plans to expand its neighbouring Chapels site with a proposed new £30m national manufacturing centre there.

Should the plans be approved, Barnfield Construction would begin work in 2024.

Wayne Wild, chair of the Darwen Town Deal Board which is backing the project,  said: "Our vision has always been that we would use the £25m of government Town Deal funding – worth £100m with council and private investment – as a catalyst to kick-start the transformation of the town.

"High on our agenda is employment growth and business innovation – using the funding to help safeguard and create new jobs and opportunities in the town through investing in sites to prepare them for development.

"Darwen has a long and impressive industrial heritage – being a world-leader – and so we’re proud to be able to support plans for this new manufacturing and research centre and this application is a fantastic step forward."

Tracy Clavell-Bate, head of development and acquisition at Barnfield Group, added: "We’re really pleased to be able to bring forward these strong proposals for the Chapels site.

"This is a prime location for a manufacturing development like this and we are already engaging in initial discussions with the AMRC to be the anchor tenant there, should the plans be approved.

"It would be the first Additive Manufacturing Accelerator of its kind in the UK, bringing with it a whole host of opportunities for the town."

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