AN AUTO “giant” is set to build a new £5 million factory in Kidderminster - creating 100 new jobs.
Wyre Forest beat off strong competition from across the UK, Europe and Asia to attract the investment from Amtek Auto Group.
The foundry plant, to be developed on the former Lawrence Recycling site in Stourport Road, will manufacture aluminium components. It is hoped it will trigger automotive supply chain companies to be lured into the area.
Work to convert the vacant buildings at the site will start later this summer, with production due to start by the end of the year. It will mean Kidderminster will become one of the largest suppliers of auto parts in Europe, where Amtek’s major customers include JLR and Ford.
The 100 new, highly-skilled jobs will be created over the one to two years and the news comes on top of latest figures showing a fall in unemployment in Wyre Forest.
Amtek, which has 65 centres around the world, was tempted into the area thanks to a “significant incentive package” put together by Wyre Forest district and Worcestershire county councils.
Part of the attraction was that the site is on the South Kidderminster Enterprise Park, where firms can carry out certain types of development without planning permission.
Wyre Forest Council cabinet member for economic regeneration, Conservative councillor John Campion, welcomed the arrival of Amtek as a “real game changer for our local economy”.
He added: “It sends out a hugely positive signal to the market that Wyre Forest is truly open for business.
“We anticipate that an inward investor of this calibre will act as a catalyst for further investment and growth into Wyre Forest, firmly positioning Kidderminster as a ‘go to’ location for automotive supply chain companies.”
Conservative councillor Adrian Hardman, leader of Worcestershire County Council, said he was confident that, as plans progressed to build the Hoo Brook Link Road, more investment would be attracted to the area.
Laurence Hurley, chief operating officer for Amtek International, whose headquarters are in India, said: “The site in Kidderminster is an ideal fit with the operational requirements of Amtek International and will help the company to meet the growth in demand from its key European customers.
“We were extremely impressed with the pro-business attitude of the two councils and in a short space of time they were able to offer a substantial package of support that convinced the Amtek supervisory board that the Kidderminster site was the right place to invest.”
News of Amtek’s arrival comes as latest figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show a further fall in unemployment in Wyre Forest. A total of 1,216 local people are now claiming unemployment benefits - 903 (46 per cent) lower than July, 2013 and 79 fewer than in June, 2014.
Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier said “This is certainly improving news for our area.
“Once again the claimant count in Wyre Forest is lower than both the regional and national average.
“This shows that all of the hard work that we do locally to combat unemployment is working.”
He added that the arrival of Amtek was “incredibly good news”.
He added: “This is exactly the type of manufacturing that works well in Wyre Forest and the West Midlands and it’s a much better use of that site. We must help this company by finding a local skills base.
“And Kidderminster College’s merger with Newcastle College will enhance the skills base.”