Swindon’s Honda car plant sold to logistics firm

Panattoni has pledged to make a £700m investment to regenerate the site.

Panattoni will take over the 370-acre site in Swindon which is being closed down by the Japanese firm in July. Honda said the closure, announced in 2019, was due to global changes in the car industry and the need to launch electric vehicles.

The site will be handed over in spring 2022 and the logistics firm has pledged to make a £700m investment to regenerate it. James Watson, development director for Panattoni, said the company wanted to "provide for existing businesses looking to expand in Swindon".

"We will be working very closely with Honda and Swindon Borough Council, along with the community and its representatives to regenerate the site."

Matthew Byrom, managing director, said: "The re-development of this strategic employment site will deliver thousands of new opportunities in roles which underpin the operation of the local and regional economy."

Susie Kemp, chief executive of Swindon Borough Council, said: "The new opportunities outlined by Panattoni will be a major step in Swindon's rejuvenation following Honda's exit.”

"Their investment offers a significant boost to the local economy and we are excited by the prospect of this redevelopment creating thousands of jobs for Swindon and the surrounding area."

Unite regional secretary Steve Preddy said the union cautiously welcomed the sale and the pledge to invest in regeneration, adding that manufacturers should be "given every incentive to make the site their home".

He said: "Swindon and the whole of the South West have a proud manufacturing legacy, especially in industries such as automotive and aerospace.”

"Not only is high-spec manufacturing crucial for providing secure well-paid jobs for our communities, but it is also essential for tackling the climate emergency and reaching net zero.”

"These jobs need to come to Swindon and Unite will be knocking on every door and exhausting every avenue to make sure that they do."

About 3,500 people worked at the plant itself but thousands more worked in the supply chain for the factory.

Panattoni describes itself as the UK’s largest speculative developer and Europe’s largest developer of logistics property – that’s warehouses and distribution centres to you and me. Naysayers might add that Panattoni’s involvement follows an unwelcome trend for Swindon’s workforce – skilled manufacturing jobs being replaced by low-paid warehouse work.