PLANS have been unveiled for a £200 million factory in Carlisle - bringing with it up to 500 new jobs.

It is the idea of former Pirelli manager Dick Cormack, who runs his own tyre brand DMACK.

Mr Cormack says a factory at Kingmoor Park could be making tyres within two years, initially with a workforce of between 70 and 100 people.

But, with a capacity to turn out 2m tyres a year, the numbers employed could rise to 500 as production increases.

It is anticipated that another 150 jobs would also be created during construction and across the local supply chain.

DMACK has been trading since 2006. At present its tyres are designed in Carlisle and manufactured in China. 

However, Mr Cormack has always said that, one day, he would like to bring production home to the UK.

“I'm not saying it's definitely going to happen but I'd love to see it in Carlisle and it would be good for the area,” he said.

“If we are going to produce a British product, why not produce it in Carlisle? It's a perfect location. We have skilled labour with experience in tyres and motorsport.

"There are people with tyre industry skills and we have Malcolm Wilson's M-Sport at Cockermouth, which is perfectly located for testing and development of new products.”

Mr Cormack is confident he can raise the money needed to get the project off the ground and is in advanced talks with potential investors, including a Chinese bank.

He added: “We know it stands up financially. Nothing is 100 per cent concrete but there's an extremely good appetite for the project. I think this is a good time to pursue it.”

A group of investors is due to visit Carlisle later this month FEB to progress discussions with DMACK and Carlisle City Council, which is working closely with the company.

John Nixon, a former industrial director at Pirelli who has latterly been involved with Carlisle United, is acting as a consultant.

DMACK looked at several potential UK sites before Kingmoor Park, to the north of Carlisle, emerged as the front runner.

The industrial park will get Enterprise Zone status from April, bringing tax breaks and a fast-track planning regime for businesses that move there.

Mr Cormack said: “We're doing a feasibility study but the initial signs look good. We are pushing to have everything in place within the next three months in terms of finances, the site and feasibility.”

Carlisle's Conservative MP John Stevenson, who lobbied hard to secure the Enterprise Zone, is delighted at DMACK's proposal.

He said: “It's potentially excellent news for Carlisle. It will be a major boost following the setback of the floods.

“And it demonstrates the importance of having the Enterprise Zone, which is a major attraction for businesses.

“Most importantly, it shows local entrepreneurs leading the way and making sure Carlisle is on the map as a serious manufacturing centre.”

DMACK made its name in motorsport tyres and says the Carlisle factory would produce these, alongside tyres for ultra-high-performance cars.

The former would be exported all over the world, while the performance car tyres would would be primarily for the UK and European markets.

The site would also include a research and development facility, designing motorsport and fuel-efficient tyres for sustainable and hybrid motoring.

This research centre could link with M-Sport’s evaluation centre at Dovenby, near Cockermouth, making Cumbria a hub for cutting-edge, world-class automotive engineering and technology.