The £355 million development of a new engine plant for Land Rover that will create 800 jobs on site and up to 4000 more in the supply chain was given the go-ahead by South Staffordshire Council earlier this week as reported here on LRO.com.
However some residents have voiced concerns over plans for a new motorway slip road leading from the M54 to JLR’s new site at the i54 business park on the Wolverhampton-Staffordshire border where work is due to start at the end of January next year ahead of a 2014 launch of the site. South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson is now lobbying the Department of Transport for funding to resurface the motorway with special low-noise impact Tarmac, 'I have asked them to consider adding it into the work programme,' he said. 'I would like to see the work done from the junction with the M6 to junction three. The noise is a real issue for people in South Staffordshire, affecting residents not just in Coven Heath but in Essington, Featherstone, Coven, and even as far away as Albrighton and Brewood.'
Coven Heath Community Association chairman Fred Barrett said, 'The fact that Jaguar Land Rover is creating hundreds of jobs is excellent news for the region, and everyone in Coven Heath recognises that but the associated roadworks are catastrophic news for a few Coven Heath residents, and very bad news for the majority, who feel that their quality of life will be seriously affected.'
A report presented alongside the plans said the flyover had been necessary to secure the JLR deal. The advanced engine facility at the i54 will manufacture a family of all-new advanced technology low emission four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines for a new range of around 40 models. It is believed the new 800,000 sq ft facility could produce up to 500,000 engines each year. JLR announced its final decision to move into the Midlands in September. Its Indian parent company, Tata Motors, announced last month that JLR sales reached £3 billion – an increase of 30 per cent – in the three months to the end of September.