Friday, November 19, 2010

Good News from Nifco

Local company. Nifco, has been looking for land on which to build a new factory for over a year now.  In the midst of the recession they have been quietly winning orders for the plastic components they manufacture for the car industry, gradually working up to 7 day weeks in order to fulfil their order book and are currently just about at bursting point.  The present plant is on a good sized site but is so badly laid out that a large part of the site is wasted.  With a full order book they can't just stop production for a year while they demolish and rebuild so a new site was needed.  Tonight they showed us where and what they have in mind.
For some time Stockton council officers and councillors have worried that if a suitable site couldn't be found they'd have to move elsewhere with a loss of jobs here and also the loss of a respected local business, albeit Japanese owned.  For some years now it's been locally managed and very successfully too. 
A site has been found, between the Oakwood Centre and Durham Lane Garage.  The plans have been drawn up and the companies in that area, along with residents at the far end of Kingsmead have been consulted.  Stockton's highway engineers don't see a particular problem with the relocation, local companies are keen to see a profitable business in the area, local residents don't live near enough to be affected so it seems like a win/win situation.  The design is a reasonably attractive office front on a well insulated and clean looking factory building.  Some landscaping at the front will help it to look as attractive as a factory can and will give a bit of a lift to that stretch of Durham Lane.
Unless some strong planning reasons emerge for not granting permission they should be starting work at the end of March and have the building finished in the Autumn.  Fitting the machinery etc will take a little time after that and some time in 2012 we should see production well established on the new site and the old one closed down.  Many people will still be able to walk or cycle to work, albeit different people to now.  Some will be able to travel by train to withing 10 minutes walk of the factory and some no doubt will drive there.  Most importantly, over 200 jobs will remain in this area and the skills which have been developed will stay here.
It's nice to have a good news planning story for a change!

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