BAE Systems start work on new Lancashire site

Rachael Tinniswood

Work has started on a £100m expansion project on defence firm BAE Systems' Samlesbury site near Preston.

The scheme will add an extra 1.1m sq ft to its current 1.5m sq ft site.

The first phase will see two four-storey, new office blocks built to house 1,400 people in the firm's project teams, which combined will cover 215,000 sq ft.

A further application to build a materials engineering and test facility to support an order for 250 Eurofighter Typhoon planes by the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain and another to build a machining facility to develop the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with the US in partnership with the Ministry of Defence are expected to be submitted in the first and second half of the year respectively.

The work is to be timed in line with business viability.

A plan to move the site's entrance, which is central to the proposal and will create better access to the site's Canberra Social Club, has already been submitted to South Ribble and Ribble Valley councils and is due to be considered by the authority's planning committee in the coming months.

The North West Development Agency agreed in November 2006 to grant £8m towards the new road layout on the condition that BAE invests in the new facility and secures employment.

A planning application to build a reception area and security lodge will go in this spring.

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