New investment uses for the Ford Bridgend Engine Plant site have been identified after it closes in just over a year.
The future of the 189-acre site is one of the priorities identified by the Ford Bridgend Taskforce, chaired by Welsh Automotive Forum Chairman Richard Parry-Jones, who was also Ford’s senior engineer in the 1990s and later.
Chairman Richard Parry-Jones emphasised the need to concentrate on tangible results from work being undertaken by members of the Taskforce which includes members of the Welsh and UK Governments, and representatives from Ford Motor Company and Bridgend County Borough Council.
The Taskforce was set up to support workers at Ford Bridgend who are involved in an ongoing consultation over the proposed closure of the engine plant, and companies who are heavily dependent on orders to supply the plant. Representatives of the Unite and GMB unions are also involved and attended the meeting in Bridgend.
Chairman of Ford Britain, Graham Hoare brought the Taskforce members up to date with the consultation process which will continue with employees once the plant reopens on 12 August following its annual shutdown. Every individual worker affected by the proposals will have the opportunity to set out their personal aspirations and then receive help to identify what support they want and need, said Mr Hoare.
Reports also came from the leaders of the three Taskforce teams covering People, Potential and Place, confirming that potential investor proposals for the site and the immediate area around it have been identified. Professor Parry-Jones said that those proposals were commercially sensitive and so could not release any details at this time.
The Taskforce members agreed its ‘Terms of Reference’ – the framework underpinning work being done. The central question guiding the Taskforce was to keep asking ‘are we creating jobs?’ said Professor Parry-Jones.
An investment brochure has been developed highlighting the opportunities of a highly skilled workforce and modern plant being offered in Bridgend.
Members of the Taskforce also come from the Learning, Skills and Innovation Partnership, Further and Higher Education Institutions, Public Health Wales, Local Health Boards and Wales Automotive Forum.
The Taskforce, which met at the Bridgend Waterton Centre, also received a presentation on work to understand the range of companies within the supply chain who are affected by the potential closure of the Bridgend plant.
The members agreed to find a way for all affected suppliers to be contacted as quickly as possible to assess impacts ahead of the next monthly meeting of the Taskforce in September.