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Leicestershire distribution complex bids to become a main supplier for £16.5bn Heathrow expansion

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A massive new warehousing and distribution complex is bidding to become a main supplier for the planned £16.5 billion expansion of Britain’s biggest airport.

Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) has backed a bid for the 6 million sq ft warehouse and logistics complex north of East Midlands Airport to be used to pre-assemble components for the new runway and terminals at Heathrow.

If the bid succeeds the Leicestershire site, called the East Midlands Logistics Hub – at the SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway (SLPEMG) – would become one of four supply hubs for the west London airport.

Work is already underway on the main logistics park covering around 700 acres of land between Kegworth and Castle Donington.

It will have its own rail terminal, and the developers say will eventually generate more than 7,250 jobs.

It is now being proposed as one of four logistics hubs for the Heathrow plans.

Nick Pulley, who chairs the LLEP, said businesses based there could become key players in delivering one of the largest and most important infrastructure projects in Europe.

He said:

“The calls for expressions of interest to support the expansion of Heathrow Airport presents a fantastic opportunity for us to realise the ambitions set out in the Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Economic Plan 2014-2020 to develop an East Midlands Enterprise Gateway in North West Leicestershire of truly national significance.

“The creation of an East Midlands Logistics Hub will build on the area’s rich industrial heritage and economic strengths in logistics and manufacturing.

“It will also create new employment opportunities for our people and new enterprise opportunities for our businesses, helping us to build our economy and ensure that the rest of the UK benefits from economic growth within the South East of England.”

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said it would be inefficient to build everything at one of the world’s busiest airports.

He said:

“The approach will not only deliver better quality products than building everything on-site, but it will help make the project affordable and more environmentally sustainable.

“It is a key step to help businesses, large and small, across the country seize the opportunities that come from expansion.

“This innovative approach means that we will work with the best suppliers in the best locations in the UK to deliver the third runway.”

The East Midlands Gateway is being built on a huge greenfield site by property investment and development companies SEGRO, in Slough, and Roxhill, based in Rugby.

It stands on the borders of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire at the point of a logistics ‘golden triangle’ created by the M1, M6 and M42 motorways.

Around 85 per cent of the UK population are within four hours drive time.

The three year construction programme got underway earlier this year and includes:

  • A new rail line connecting the terminal to the Castle Donington branch freight line
  • New road infrastructure and improvements to existing roads Bus interchange.
  • A new Kegworth bypass giving access to the A453 and M1

Sites that have put forward expressions of interest will find out if they have made a long list of potential logistics hubs later this year.

Source: Leicester Mercury

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