Coventry Airport to be replaced by Gigafactory

A Gigafactory to build electric vehicle battery packs for the UK’s motor industry is likely to be built on the site of Coventry Airport.

Coventry City Council has confirmed it will enter a Joint Venture partnership with Coventry Airport Ltd to develop proposals for a Gigafactory at Coventry Airport.

An outline planning application for a Gigafactory will be put forward in 2021, with the full support of local councils and Regional City Airports (RCA) who own and manage Coventry Airport.

It comes on the back of local car maker Jaguar Land Rover announcing that all its new cars will be electric from 2025.

“Securing a Gigafactory in the West Midlands has been identified as vital for the continued success of the automotive industry, creating thousands of green jobs, attracting up to £2bn of investment, and supporting the drive for Net Zero,” said a statement from the Joint Venture.

“The UK Government is actively pursuing investment in a Gigafactory and has made up to £500m funding available. which the West Midlands will be bidding for in due course.”

The West Midlands Combined Authority, led by the West Midlands Mayor and comprises the region’s seven urban councils, has formally endorsed Coventry Airport as the preferred site for a Gigafactory. The Airport site could accommodate up to 4.5 million sq ft of commercial space.

Coventry Airport
Coventry Airport

The statement doesn’t actually say the Airport would close, though one local newspaper, the Coventry Telegraph, has said that’s the case. FLYER has asked RCA for confirmation.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said, “I have been utterly obsessed with securing a Gigafactory for the West Midlands due to the huge economic and job benefits it would bring, and so I am delighted we have announced our preferred site and taken a huge leap forward today. I will not rest until the West Midlands has the Gigafactory it needs.”

The proposal has the full support of RCA. Andrew Bell, CEO, said, “Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority have together identified Coventry Airport as the preferred site for a Gigafactory. Coventry Airport Ltd has been working to deliver the best possible outcome for the region and are ready to back the West Midlands through a Joint Venture with Coventry City Council.

“We recognise what a significant opportunity this is and are backing the project with investment alongside our public sector partners. This is a ground-breaking initiative, and we are excited to be a part of it.”

Tesla Gigafactory
US electric car maker Tesla has built this Gigafactory at a place called Sparks in Nevada

The Joint Venture between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport Ltd is set to be approved by Coventry City Council’s Cabinet at a meeting on 23 February. A planning application will be submitted in 2021 and, subject to successful discussions with car makers and battery suppliers, a Gigafactory at Coventry Airport could be operational by 2025.

UK Gigafactory

Comments

  1. There should be some sort of statutory protection of infrastructure that prohibits airports from being redeveloped into residential and/or industrial use. Once redeveloped, where will we find another site on which a 6,500 foot runway can be built and where there will not be thousands of complaints about noise?

    1. I agree with Philip – most councillors have no vision. There must be lots of suitable sites in the midlands without purloining an airfield.

    1. Surely their plenty of disused wartime airfields in the midlands where a gigafactory could be built such as fragley or upper heyford without closing an operational airport like coventry.

  2. While a Gigafactory would be welcome, building it on an active airport is not. There are more people employed with aviation activities than ever will be employed in the gigafactory which will be largely automated.

  3. The UK is losing far too many airfields and to destroy Coventry’s airfield is nothing short of Industrial vandalism. Doubtless there are short term financial gains to be made which will go into someone’s pocket, but once the air facilities have gone you (Coventry) will never ever get them back.

  4. Second plan for Coventry in less than a month….

    Published Wednesday, 27 January 2021

    Urban Air Port® Air-One® has today been selected as a winner of the UK government’s Future Flight Challenge to develop aviation infrastructure and systems that enable the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles.

    Air-One® is a world-first fully-operational hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft – such as cargo drones and air taxis – to be launched in Coventry later this year.

    1. Well, I suppose VTO removes the need for a runway so there’s no inconsistency between the two plans!

      I guess the fixed wing operators could always move to Wellesbourne where they would surely receive a warm welcome from both the landowner and Stratford District Council who are, apparently, committed to “maintaining and enhancing” the airfield operations. I’m sure, with that commitment in mind, that they would be glad to get back some of the revenue that was lost when their largest operator was, nevertheless, evicted in somewhat questionable circumstances following a long “Save Wellesbourne Airfield “ campaign.

      Hmmm……could be interesting.

  5. Why can’t the airport remain there? And still have the gigafactory?
    Will the runway be kept for medium sized aircraft?

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