James Evison 28 November 2016

Council get behind Jaguar growth plans

Coventry City Council has got behind plans for local firm Jaguar Land Rover to develop electric vehicles in the area.

The firm has already stated that it wants to make Coventry a global area of excellence for the technology, and the move has now been welcomed by the local authority.

Speaking at an event last week to local leaders and businessmen, Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth said that the firm would be able to provide as much as 10,000 new jobs across the Coventry area.

But he also told the audience at Warwick University that the local infrastructure would have to be improved in order to deal with the capacity issues around generating electric vehicles and their batteries.

He said the German government wants to be ahead of the game for electric technology and ‘we are in a race’ which we will ‘either win or lose’.

Cllr Jim O’Boyne, who is in charge of regeneration at Coventry City Council, praised the company for ‘steeping up to the plate’.

He said the local authority 'want to be at the forefront of this new technology, we don't want it to go abroad'.

Although he said ‘a lot of cables’ would need to be put in the ground to make the development happen, O’Boyne had already highlighted the £250m Gateway Business Park scheme as an area in which the growth could take place.

The Gateway Business Park scheme has proved controversial with former communities secretary Eric Pickles calling the plans in last year – and vetoing the development.

Jaguar Land Rover currently plans to expand its Whitley site, but would need additional space in order for the electric vehicle work to take place, according to O’Boyne.

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