It is the great hope for injecting new life into the economy of the Black Country and Staffordshire – and now it is starting to take shape.
Just over a year after it was confirmed that Jaguar Land Rover would build an engine plant at the i54 business park in Wolverhampton, the steel supports have been put in place and give the first real sign that the long-awaited development is on its way.
Around 700 jobs will be created at the £355 million plant creating engines for the luxury car maker, which has seen demand for its cars and 4x4s soar in recent years.
JLR will join aerospace giant Moog and laboratories company Eurofins at the i54 which both had new buildings. However, both companies were already based in the city whereas JLR’s arrival in 2014 will create new jobs.
Council bosses in Wolverhampton and Staffordshire are spending £36m on a new slip road from the M54 motorway to provide access to the i54 for JLR.
It is also hoped that companies within its supply chain will relocate to be nearby. The steel frame of the factory can be seen from the M54.
Councillor Peter Bilson, deputy leader of Wolverhampton City Council, said: “This is tangible evidence that this factory is on its way. The challenge now is for our education providers to ensure that the local workforce is prepared and aware of the skills that will be required for the new engine plant.”