British bicycle manufacturer Brompton is taking the first step towards setting up a ‘revolutionary’ new factory in Ashford, Kent, and will submit planning permission for the development.
The new plant will be built on a floodplain, which will restore the wetland and promote walking and cycling for the local community. The project will house a production facility and become Brompton’s global headquarters. By 2027, the company plans to employ more than 1,500 people.
The development will have “exceptional” insulation, use natural light and airflow to minimize energy consumption, and use solar and geothermal energy to contribute to its energy needs. Brompton said the new factory will be built to last, with optimized construction methods, reduced embodied carbon and responsibly sourced materials.
The development will help the company achieve emissions reduction targets aligned to 1.5°C as part of its net zero ambitions.
Designed by architect Guy Hollaway, the new development will sit on a 100-acre floodplain. Ashford Borough Council plans to turn 60 acres of the site into a reclaimed public nature reserve with a community cycleway and footpath network.
The site relocation plan aims to see no new parking spaces created. A wide cycle/pedestrian lane will provide employees and visitors with direct walking and cycling access to the facility, which will include a visitor center, museum and cafe.
Brompton will partner with Ashford Borough Council and Quinn Estates to deliver the vision, investing in the local community through the creation of a skilled workforce, as well as using the museum and educational space on the site to facilitate outreach with local schools and universities. .
Brompton has had a relationship with Ashford since 2014, as one of the first Brompton bike rental docks was installed at Ashford International Station, which will be expanded as part of the plans.
Brompton’s current plant in Greenford, west London, will continue to operate until at least 2030.
Will Butler-Adams OBE, CEO of Brompton, said: “As we face climate change, combined with poor mental and physical health in our cities, where most of the world’s population lives, we must adapt.
“There has been a global realization after the pandemic that we need to change the way we live in our cities, to design them around the people who live there, not the automobile.
“Brompton has an important role to play in supporting this transition, but we need more space to innovate and create the products of the future. London was the inspiration for the Brompton and our success is in large part due to our diverse and skilled staff who continue to nurture and grow our business. By choosing Ashford, we can maintain this strong link with London and the United Kingdom, while being on the doorstep of Europe.
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“We have a long way to go with the planning and development of the new site, but we are grateful for the support of Ashford Borough Council, Hollaway Studios and Quinn Estates in realizing our combined ambition to build this factory of revolutionary and durable bikes of the future.”