Plans for new multimillion pound bicycle factory could bring thousands of jobs to Kent

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Tom Savvides

Plans have been unveiled for a large-scale bicycle factory in Kent, creating up to 4,000 jobs.

The manufacturer Brompton wants to build the facility on stilts on wetlands near Ashford.

The company intends to invest one hundred million pounds, with the aim of producing 200,000 cycles a year.

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, the Conservative leader of Ashford Council said: "It is going to not only attract jobs, it's going to attract high skilled jobs, engineering jobs, a lot of apprenticeships and things of that nature. And when you look beyond the factory and the ancillary jobs that will be created, it's a marvellous opportunity."

Brompton bikes. Credit: ITV News Meridian

It comes at a time when cycling is becoming increasingly popular.

Chief Executive of Brompton Bicycle, Will Butler-Adams, said: "We cannot continue with cities full of square metal boxes. We need to rethink our cities. This product, the humble bicycle, is so relevant today.

"We've got electrification, we've got technology now and we need to think of people's well-being. We need active travel. We need cities that are safe and clean, and the most efficient product ever made is right there. And somehow, for 50 years, we forgot all about it."

The factory could be built by 2026 on wetlands near Ashford Designer Outlet. Credit: Brompton

Staff and visitors would be encouraged to cycle, walk or take public transport, with no car parking bays on the cards.

Simon Ryan from Locate in Kent said: "Ashford is one of the most high growth centres in the whole of the southeast. It's got land, it's got a great young workforce. Population is growing by 20% over the last ten years, so there's no better place commercially to put it.

"Geographically, Kent's got lots of advantages with his proximity to London and to the ports."

A planning application for the site is expected to be put forward in April. If approved, work would begin next year, with the factory and headquarters built by 2026.