New technology campus would include research and development labs
Updated 6:00pm Wednesday 22nd January 2014 in By Victoria Latchman
Engineering firm Dyson has announced proposals for a £250m expansion, which could bring a staggering 3,000 jobs to Malmesbury.
The expansion would be the largest in the company’s 20-year history, and the jobs would be in the field of science and engineering.
Dyson has confirmed that, if approved, it would create a new technology campus based in Malmesbury, which would include research and development laboratories split over four buildings in the town.
The firm is famous for products such as its bagless vacuum cleaners and Airblade hand drier.
Company founder, the entrepreneur Sir James Dyson, said: “I arrived in Wiltshire with four engineering graduates, now 1,000 more have joined us. But to develop the advanced technology we need 3,000 more highly skilled engineers and scientists.
“We hope to create the space for them here in Malmesbury, but with a shortfall of 40,000 engineers every year in the UK, finding them is difficult.”
Whether the plans go ahead now depends on Dyson securing planning permission. The firm also said it also needs to be convinced that it is going to get the engineers it needs to fill the available roles before the expansion goes ahead.
A spokesman said: “More space and more engineers will allow Dyson to increase research and development carried at the centre and significantly increase partnerships with British universities – applying the research to create new technology to export.
“Dyson has worked with the community in Malmesbury to share provisional plans, which include recreation facilities. Decisions on whether to progress will come later in the year.”
Dyson invests £3million in research and development a week, but it could double if the new campus goes ahead. The firm has nearly tripled the number of engineers employed in Malmesbury in four years, converting assembly lines to laboratories.
Aimee Frankham, Malmesbury and District Chamber of Commerce chairman, said: “If it is 3,000 new people over the next 25 years or so then that is absolutely fantastic and even more amazing than I thought.
“Malmesbury would then become the centre of engineering excellence, more than it is already and will hopefully encourage more engineering businesses to the area.”
Malmesbury mayor, Coun John Gundry, said: “Blimey. Over how many years I wonder?
“I think it is marvellous for a small, Wiltshire market town like ours to have this sort of development.
“This sort of growth can only be good for the town and for employment.
“I bet there are other towns out there looking enviously at us this evening.”
The first Dyson vacuum cleaner, the DC01, was launched in the UK in 1993.
In 1995 the firm moved to Malmesbury after outgrowing its facilities in Chippenham
Rapid growth meant that the site had to be expanded almost immediately, the current facilities being built in 1996.
Dyson cut 560 jobs in Malmesbury in 2002 and moved its manufacturing to South East Asia because expansion in Malmesbury was not possible at the time.
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