​​​​​​​Planning approval for £130M alloy wheels plant - Lochaber

Proposed alloy wheels facility
Proposed alloy wheels facility

Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee has approved a major planning application for an alloy wheel manufacturing facility at Fort William in Lochaber.

The facility involves an investment in excess of £130 million which will sustain and create around 570 jobs; expand business opportunities and provide a value added product for the UK motor vehicle manufacturing industry which could reduce reliance on overseas supply chains.

Lying to the west of the existing Aluminium smelter in Fort William, the proposals for the Liberty Aluminium Lochaber Ltd new facility include redevelopment of part of a former brownfield site on which a former carbon factory stood.

Councillors approved the significant planning proposals subject to a number of detailed conditions relating to transport and traffic management; environmental management; and historical and archaeological management among other conditions.

Chair of the Council’s South Planning Applications Committee Councillor Jimmy Gray welcomed the decision. He said: “I welcome this development proposal which is huge turnaround for the Highlands and in particular Lochaber. There are very few areas in Scotland and indeed the UK where we could see such a dramatic investment in manufacturing and industry. This is the only aluminium smelter left in the UK so this is of national significance. There is a real potential for Liberty to invest in Fort William and Lochaber and we have a whole change agenda in this development that provides huge opportunities.

He added: “I would like to commend and give thanks to our local Planning Team and the Officers involved who processed and prepared this major planning application. This was an extensive piece of work and they have done an excellent job.”

Lochaber Leader, Councillor Andrew Baxter added: “This is a once in a generation opportunity and Liberty Group should be applauded for this contribution to the economy and community. Up to 400 direct jobs will be created at the facility which will also help secure the existing 170 jobs at the smelter.

30 Jan 2018
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