BREAKING NEWS: Firm plans ‘wind turbine centre of excellence’ for Mirfield 25

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GLOBAL gear technology firm David Brown plans to move part of its operation to Mirfield.

The Huddersfield-based company aims to create a wind turbine centre of excellence at the controversial Mirfield 25 site.

But before the firm submits a planning application to Kirklees Council, it wants residents to see just what is planned in a public exhibition next Friday.

Open to all, the event will be at the Christ the King church between 11am and 7pm.

Representatives from David Brown and developers First Industrial will be on hand to answer questions.

The development will also include a wind innovation centre. Both buildings will be energy-efficient and designed to achieve exacting standards.

David Brown say the move will enable it to modernise and strengthen its UK operations, including creating new jobs.

The Leeds Road site already has planning consent for commercial use, is six miles away from David Brown’s site in Huddersfield, where the company has been headquartered for more than 100 years.

A spokesman said: “The move is driven by David Brown’s fast growth in new sectors like wind energy and high-speed rail and into new regions worldwide. To accommodate this growth and maintain the company’s presence in traditional sectors, it has become necessary to adapt and modernise manufacturing and test facilities, and increase capabilities. This is not possible within the limits of the current Park Works site in Lockwood due to inefficient layout and topography.

“Remaining close to the local community, the new site will allow for significant savings on maintenance, utilities and carbon tax costs, create a more attractive and efficient working environment for more than 270 of the 450 staff based in Huddersfield, and will provide room for the creation of further jobs.

“In addition to already having planning consent for commercial use, the new site is the only immediately available, local site to meet David Brown’s high quality criteria. This allows David Brown, as a world-class manufacturer, to both invest in and remain within Kirklees.”

Part of the current site, Prospect Works, will be refurbished and updated for the rest of the team and be home to some of the company’s engineering, testing, assembly and aftermarket services for industrial new build as well as its support functions.

The new facilities in Mirfield will host a global centre of excellence for gear manufacture, a new David Brown wind innovation centre for a growing team, as well as office space for global support functions such as sales, communications, legal, finance and business unit personnel.

Construction on the 10-acre site is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2012. David Brown is planning the move in separate stages and the project is expected to be complete by late in 2013.

The old site in Lockwood will be reduced in size from 17 to 6 acres over the period.

Wayne Ball, General manager at David Brown, said: “We are delighted to announce our plans for the new centre of excellence and wind innovation centre at Mirfield as well as our plans to update and refurbish part of the current site.

“The new and updated facilities will enable a step-change in driving productivity and operational effectiveness for David Brown and the creation of new jobs. The new site will allow David Brown to remain in the heart of the community, as we extend our global reach through specialist research, development and manufacturing capabilities from improved facilities.”