Proposals to build nearly 1,500 homes and create 10,000 jobs on the site of a former British car plant won approval on Feb. 12, in a rare glimmer of hope amid the global economic gloom. The 750-million-pound (US$ 1.1 billion) 15-year plan for the former MG Rover Longbridge site, south of Birmingham in central England, was submitted to the government in March.
After 100 years of vehicle production in Birmingham, Britain's second city and the traditional heart of its motor industry, about 6,000 jobs were lost when historic car manufacturer MG Rover collapsed in 2005.
The Longbridge plant started up in 1905 on the site of a former print works. In its heyday, the factory produced 10,000 cars per week.
A section of the 140-hectare site is now used for car production by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.
Though the car production site will be maintained, the Longbridge Area Action Plan (LAAP) focuses on the area surrounding the plant, Liz Jesper, an officer with Birmingham City Council, said. "There is an area in the middle of the site that is retained for car manufacturing for the company's use," she said. There's a lot of buildings around that that are being demolished. That's the area that the plan focuses on."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009