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LTI Faces Factory Row Despite Jobs Pledge

Coventry firm London Taxi International has unveiled plans to leave their factory in Holyhead Road, but faces staunch opposition from residents.

The firm says it needs to move to newer and bigger facilities elsewhere in the city, and wants to transform its current site.

Among the plans submitted to Coventry City Council are a new B&Q warehouse to replace the existing B&Q on the Alvis Retail Park, which will create 260 jobs.

There will also be enterprise units for small businesses to use and a new hotel restaurant. Between them these developments are expected to create 100 jobs.

Barry Widdowson, managing director of LTI, urged people to get behind the scheme so LTI could expand.

He said:

“At a time when the West Midlands motor industry is suffering real problems after the BMW sale of Rover and the Rolls Royce job losses at Ansty it is vital that Coventry supports LTI, an acknowledged world leader, in its plans to raise the finances for a new factory in the city.

“We want to stay in Coventry and have identified a number of potential sites for a new factory. But we need to raise enough money from the sale of our existing factory to finance the purchase of a new factory and fitting it out.”

But residents living near the factory are opposed to the scheme as it will attract more traffic to the already crowded Holyhead Road.

Kevin Noble, vice chair of Spon End Red Brick Residents’ Association, said:

“Anyone who tries to drive down Holyhead Road on a Saturday will know how busy it is already.

“The area cannot support another retail park. We are worried about being squeezed between the city centre and this retail development.”

Mr Noble said claims by LTI that 75 per cent of residents support the scheme are misleading, as very few people responded to the consultation when it was carried out in Autumn 1999.

He said:

“We advised people not to reply as we would wait until the planning process started. We will be giving our views to the city council.”

Mr Noble said residents supported LTI’s plans to look for a new factory, but said the area should be used for economic regeneration, and not retail. He said:

“The ‘enterprise units’ are only in the plans because we asked for them. It is just a row of garages. We are worried that jobs are going to be lost from the area.”

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CWN / Motoring / London Taxis International  / 28 Nov 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM