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Major extension planned at Hethel Engineering Centre

14:35 24 February 2012

Hethel Engineering Centre

Hethel Engineering Centre

©Archant Photographic 2010

A major Norfolk engineering centre has unveiled plans to extend its premises to provide 16 new offices, potentially tripling the existing staff levels.

The Hethel Engineering Centre, which is next door to car manufacturer Lotus Cars near Norwich, has applied to Norfolk County Council to extend its current four acre site, fronting onto the B1135 Wymondham Road, by adding the new extension on two acres of arable land to the east of the centre, while keeping the extension close to the main entrance hub.

If approved, the number of staff and tenants will increase from the current 80 to 240.

A report supporting the application said the principle of developing the extension was agreed when planning permission was given for the centre on its current site due to the open countryside location and the proximity of the Lotus site.

The report stated: “This proposed extension to Hethel Engineering Centre to form the Advanced Manufacturing Centre is urgently required. The existing centre is full and has tenants, some occupying several units between them, which must commit to expansion plans soon.

“They are very keen to stay in the immediate vicinity, but practicalities will dictate they move away if the Advanced Manufacturing Centre is not certain to be built shortly.”

The new offices and workshops will provide between 200-250sq m of internal floor area, considerably larger than the existing 70sq m workshops and the office space will be separate from the workshops.

Vehicle access will be provided for delivery lorries, while an additional 95 parking spaces will be created in addition to the existing 121 spaces.

The current four acre centre was established in 2004 after the county council bought arable land off Lotus Cars and in 2011 the county council bought the extra two acres of land to enable the extension to be built.

The report concluded: “The proposal represents a well-designed, attractive and sustainable scheme, sensitive to the site and its surroundings, meeting national and local guidelines. This development will enable the existing centre to expand to meet the demand for additional ‘grow on’ units and allow engineering to flourish in this excellence hub.”

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