Mystery company to create £100m base in West…

Mystery company to create £100m base in West Yorkshire – bringing 2,500 high-paid jobs

EARLY plans for a mystery company to create 2,500 high-paid jobs in a new facility in West Yorkshire have gone before regional decision-makers.

By Richard BeechamLocal Democracy Reporter

The site, to be situated in either Leeds or Wakefield, would see a “global conglomerate” invest £100 million into the area, creating jobs in the “advanced manufacturing” industry.

But according West Yorkshire leaders, the plans are so commercially sensitive that the identity of the company has been kept top secret, with regional chiefs instead referring to the scheme as “Project Marigold”.

And despite West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s decision to shroud the scheme in mystery, it has still agreed to offer the unnamed company a loan of £5m to get work started.

Chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Roger Marsh told a meeting of WYCA that members had been covered by “strict non-disclosure agreements”, but added: “This is one of the most exciting projects I have seen. The notion that we can create 2,500 jobs that on average will pay 50 per cent above the average across West Yorkshire, is part of the positive journey.

“It’s not been without twists and turns – we have fought off competition from everywhere else in the UK for this and, while not formally confirmed as a preferred location, they are only looking at three sites in West Yorkshire for this.

“The investment decision is going before the main board of this global conglomerate in January next year, at which point we will be moving this at some pace.”

He added that the work would see a 200,000 to 250,000 square foot facility being set up on one of three unnamed sites in either Leeds or Wakefield.

Mr Marsh said that whichever local authority in which the new facility was situated would be likely to give the company business rates relief for a period of time, while the combined authority would give the company a loan “on commercial terms”.

He added: “The details of this I can’t share with you, but hopefully there will be sufficient trust in my background.

“It makes sense to ensure they see a partnership that we want to build. It could be the beginning of further transactions in this arena.”

A report which went before WYCA members stated: “The proposal has a good strategic fit with several of the mayor’s pledges including supporting local businesses and championing our regional economy and West Yorkshire Strategic Economic Framework priorities including boosting productivity and enabling inclusive growth.

“The new manufacturing facility is planned to offer young people from disadvantaged backgrounds by funding apprenticeships and providing the support and advice required.”