Unilever's Advanced Manufacturing Centre set for go-ahead
Plans to build an Advanced Manufacturing Centre that would allow scientists and engineers to test new ideas for personal care and homecare products at Unilever's Port Sunlight complex look set to be given the go-ahead.
The £24m scheme, which has secured backing from the government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF), will test new and "transformational" technologies.
Wirral Council's planning meeting is due to consider Unilever's full planning application for the erection of an Advanced Manufacturing Centre that will form part of its current R&D facility on Quarry Road East in Bebington on Thursday (20 August 2015).
The proposed development would feature ground- and first-floor offices, conference facilities, warehousing and a pilot plant chamber enabling scientists and engineers to test new ideas during product development up to factory scale for personal care and home products.
The scheme would provide 80,729 sq ft of new floor space. The proposed building would lie to the west of the existing MTC building, with the pair being linked by a new bridge.
The majority of the site earmarked for development is currently used for staff parking. However, the overall parking provision across the site is expected to remain the same as present at 767 spaces.
Ahead of the meeting, a report prepared by the planning officer has recommended that councillors should approve the scheme.
It said: "The proposed development will promote sustainable communities and economic development via the creation of jobs and increase in economic output. The extension this building in this location will contribute to making the best use of resources and infrastructure."
In September 2014, Unilever unveiled plans to open the £24m facility at Port Sunlight in 2016. It said the centre, which would be boosted by £4m from the RGF, would be unique within Unilever globally.
Speaking at the time, Cameron Jones, Unilever Port Sunlight site leader, said: "Unilever has been in the manufacturing business for over 125 years and this is the next step on that exciting journey. The centre creates a step-change in our ability to bring truly innovative products to market faster."
The announcement was also hailed by then-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Wirral Council leader Phil Davies.
Port Sunlight is the centre for Unilever's home care and personal care R&D team.