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Ford may quit city as £30m Speke leisure plan gets nod

Hotels, shops and restaurant scheme will create 325 jobs, says developer

Written by . Published on February 1st 2012.

Ford may quit city as £30m Speke leisure plan gets nod

CAR giant Ford says it may pull out of Halewood if a £30m leisure park is built near by.

Amid cries of protest from the public gallery, Liverpool City Council gave the nod to plans, by Belfast-based developer Benmore,  to construct the out-of-town mall of shops, hotels and a cinema, which, it says, will create 325 permanent jobs.

But Ford’s European transport operations manager, Graham  Edwards, told the city planning committee that  the”New Mersey Leisure” plan would “undermine our operation  considerably”.

He added: “Should the committee choose to accept the applicant’s  submission, it would force me into  considering our position in this area.”


The scheme, which Benmore says would create 400 construction jobs, would involve the takeover of part of a site presently used for the storage and distribution of Ford vehicles.

It wants to build a seven-screen cinema, 18 commercial units and a 78-bed hotel on a 15-acre brownfield site near the New Mersey Retail Park off Speke Hall Road.

It has also won outline permission for a 120-bed hotel, another 78-bed hotel and a further three commercial units.

Addressing Ford's concerns, Benmore suggested there was a “substantial” piece of land which could be used instead, but  Ford rejected the claim.

The proposals also attracted the ire of Peel Holdings, various rail-freight bodies and the union Unite.

Peel, which owns land nearby, submitted an eight-page objection through its Peel Investments division. It argued the development, which will use land adjacent to a freight terminal, will frustrate the expansion of rail freight in the city and impact on the region's growth.

David Burrows, chief executive of Benmore Group, said he hoped work would start on the site this year and be completed by 2013:

"We are committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure this project is delivered on time and on budget, with minimum disruption to existing businesses using the site and maximum benefit to the people of Speke Garston," he said.

Bill  Verinder, from the Unite union,  added: “If this goes  ahead, Ford will do their best to pull out of here because their operation cannot continue. They are going to require more storage in future, not less.”

The planning committee was split four in favour and four against. Cllr John McIntosh used his casting vote to approve the plan. This was greeted with shouts of:  “You’ve just sold our jobs there.  A Labour council – you’ve got to be kidding.”

The land is in an industrial zone, so the decision will have to be approved by the government before work can begin. 

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Ford PrefectFebruary 1st 2012.

The shortsightedness of politicians!

The construction jobs will last a few months and the 325 permanent jobs will be Cameron Jobs - minimum wage cleaning and service jobs with unsocial shifts and limited hours keeping employees dependent upon state benefits.

Ford jobs are proper jobs with proper wages for the skilled workers doing them until they are made redundant by this daft development.

A resurgence in manufacturing jobs is the only way to get the economy on the right track.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 2nd 2012.

This city needs more jobs full stop so what if their minimum wage jobs? thats better than no job at all.

Ford PrefectFebruary 2nd 2012.

OK Brains: look at it like this:_

+325 £6 per hour shit jobs
-3000 proper skilled full-time well-paid jobs
= Net LOSS of 2,675 jobs of any description.

I take then that you are a Councillor?

Ford PrefectFebruary 3rd 2012.

OK Brains, I'll draw you a diagram.

+ 325 minimum wage unskilled £6ph jobs in the 'leisure park',
MINUS 3,000 proper skilled jobs at Ford
= net LOSS of 2,675 jobs.

I am no fan of Ford or Peel Holdings but this is basic arithmetic even a politician must be able to understand.

Paul RiccioFebruary 2nd 2012.

john Mcintosh actually used his vote twice,he voted for the proposal which made it four for and four against he then used his casting vote to carry the proposal this cant be right as he as abais by voteing in favor first

Jonathan HalliwellFebruary 2nd 2012.

Scaremongering of the worst kind. For someone from Ford to say they might 'quit the city' is a disgrace. This development affects about a quarter of a piece of land which is used for storing cars made OVERSEAS! It has nothing to do with the Ford/Getrag factory which makes gearboxes. And typical snobbery here from Mr Ford Prefect - if you work in catering, leisure, hospitality (even if you're manager, chef, marketer) it's not a 'proper' job. How insulting to the thousands of people in this city who work in this sector, pulling tourists in and making such a massive contributioon to the ceonomy.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Ford PrefectFebruary 2nd 2012.

It's not snobbery. As even a high-powered American remarked about Margaret Thatcher's putting all Britain's eggs in the service industry sector "We can't all make a living opening doors for each other."

Ford PrefectFebruary 3rd 2012.

It's not snobbery. One of Ronald Reagan's aides remarked of Margaret Thatcher's destruction of British industry and putting all our eggs in the sevice sector basket "We can't all make a living opening doors for each other!"

People in low-paid jobs can't spend as much money in the local economy as well-paid people in skilled jobs.
After all, we need people who are going to spend money in the shops, hotels, restaurants, etc.

That is why manufacturing and exporting Germany is rich and we are begging in the gutter.

AnonymousFebruary 14th 2012.

Is this like a crap version of Liverpool One?

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