Bus-maker opts for new factory

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BUS-maker Optare is to open a new factory – just 11 miles from its current premises.

As reported previously in the YEP, the company has been looking for a new site after raising £7.4m to fund the move. Now the firm has announced that a 140,000 sq ft factory will open at Sherburn in Elmet.

Optare’s current premises are on Manston Lane, Leeds, and it was stated in the YEP’s report in February that all employees were to transfer.

The 17-year lease for the new premises was signed by Optare earlier this month.

It is thought that the new factory will be the first new bus assembly plant to open in the UK for 40 years. The production facilities will enable the company to build 1,200 buses a year.

Chief executive officer Jim Sumner said: “Overall, this new flexible manufacturing plant will allow us to offer a full range of single and double-deck models to satisfy all market sectors and in both left and right hand drive while keeping fixed costs down.

“It will also address concerns among major UK and European operators about Optare’s capacity to deliver larger fleet contracts.”

Global real estate adviser DTZ acted for landlord Evander Properties/Angelsea Capital during the negotiations. Associate director of DTZ, Paul Mack, said: “This latest addition further demonstrates the capabilities of the area as a hot spot for manufacturing and distribution within the Yorkshire region.

“The Sherburn Industrial Estate benefits from a huge power supply which is key to the manufacturing sector as well as uncongested access to the regional and national motorway network.”

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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