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Monday, 22 September 2014

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Multi-million M-Sport expansion may bring 100 jobs to Cumbria

Plans for a multi-million expansion of M-Sport’s Dovenby Hall complex have been submitted to Allerdale council.

Dovenby Hall photo
M-Sport’s Dovenby Hall base

The venture – by rally boss Malcolm Wilson – could see the creation of 100 new jobs as he moves into road cars by building a research, development and testing operation.

The M-Sport Evaluation Centre (MEC) is part of a 10-year masterplan which could also see a top-class 60-bedroom hotel and 25 homes built on the edge of the estate.

Plans were officially submitted to Allerdale Council this week.

The application also applies for permission to demolish the derelict School House, Hodgson House and Howard House.

Outline planning permission is also sought for four further land uses consisting of future expansion space and offices.

The development will focus on the 117,327sq ft M-Sport Evaluation Centre which will develop, test and evaluate vehicles.

M-Sport wants to work with manufacturers to create cutting-edge road cars.

It would be the only centre in the country where cars could be designed, built, tested and then fine-tuned with parts tailor-made at one location.

Operations would focus on developing low volumes of cars that motor firms would struggle to put on big production lines, exploiting a lucrative niche market.

Residents have already attended an invitation-only consultation event and Mr Wilson says response to his expansion plans has been “positive”.

Mr Wilson, managing director of M-Sport, said they had been “humbled” by the support they had from the community.

David Bell, owner of The Ship Inn at Dovenby, said: “It will bring people to the area, it will create more homes and jobs. The whole scheme looks great.

“Anything that Malcolm Wilson does, he does right. It’s a credit to him.”

M-Sport is one of four manufacturers in this year’s World Rally Championship. The company also develops specialist Ford Fiesta rally cars for customers and moved into racing in a deal with Bentley to develop and run a car for its new motorsport team.

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