Hope of announcement on Britishvolt site near Blyth 'very soon'

A Northumberland councillor is hopeful of an announcement on the future of the troubled Britshvolt site in the near future.
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Proposals for a 3,000-job gigafactory at Cambois were hailed as transformational for the region when first unveiled, but several years down the line the project has yet to materialise. Britishvolt, the high-profile start up proposing the electric car battery factory, went into administration last year.

Australian firm Recharge Industries then agreed an £8.6m deal with administrators EY for the business, but has since missed several deadlines to pay an outstanding amount. Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting of full council, Labour’s Cllr Caroline Ball pressed the Tory administration for answers.

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She said: “I am really disappointed. We had the fanfare of all these thousands of jobs coming to the Britishvolt site. It seems to have disappeared off the radar. Can we have an update?

Britishvolt collapsed last year without manufacturing a single battery. (Photo by Britishvolt)Britishvolt collapsed last year without manufacturing a single battery. (Photo by Britishvolt)
Britishvolt collapsed last year without manufacturing a single battery. (Photo by Britishvolt)

“We have invested heavily, including a lot of staff time, which I am really grateful for. I would like to know what’s going on and what the plan is, because we need to deliver those jobs that were promised.

“I’m proud to come from Ashington and to represent it and Northumberland as part of this council. What I am not proud of is 32% of children growing up in poverty and thousands of people on the housing waiting list.

“Where is the promised highly skilled jobs? We are facing people leaving the county and we’ hae spent thousands on training them. I am furious.”

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Responding to Cllr Ball, the council’s cabinet member for business Wojciech Ploszaj said: “We are doing what we can since Britishvolt collapsed to deliver on that site.

“I am hopeful a solution and an announcement will be coming very soon on that.”

EY recently said it is in talks with other interested parties over the Cambois site. The administration was extended until January 2025 in order to give it more time to complete a deal, either with Recharge or an alternative buyer.

At February’s meeting of full council, the Conservative-led administration created a £15m ‘strategic sites acquisition fund’ at the last moment ahead of the budget. It was suggested by Labour leader Scott Dickinson the cash related to the Cambois plot, although Conservative leader Glen Sanderson said this was “pure speculation.”