Span­ish firm eyes power sta­tion site

Train man­u­fac­turer con­sid­er­ing Lon­gan­net

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Marzella

Forth Val­ley could be set for a jobs boost as a train man­u­fac­turer con­sid­ers mov­ing its op­er­a­tion to the area.

The for­mer Lon­gan­net power sta­tion is one of just two lo­ca­tions ear­marked for a po­ten­tial fac­tory site that could em­ploy up to a thou­sand peo­ple.

En­gi­neer­ing firm, Talgo, has short­listed Lon­gan­net and Ch­ester­field as the po­ten­tial lo­ca­tions for the new plant.

The Span­ish–based com­pany, which hopes to an­nounce a de­ci­sion on the lo­ca­tion in the mid­dle of this month, spe­cialises in de­sign­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vic­ing fast, light­weight trains.

The short­list rep­re­sents the lat­est phase in a search that has lasted eigh­teen months and seen 30 lo­ca­tions vy­ing to be the site of the new op­er­a­tion.

Lon­gan­net was Scot­land’s last coal-fired power sta­tion when it closed in March, 2016, af­ter fail­ing to win a con­tract from Na­tional Grid.

It brought to an end a pe­riod of op­er­a­tion which be­gan in 1973 when it was opened and op­er­ated by the South of Scot­land Elec­tric­ity Board.

In 1990, Scot­tish Power took over the run­ning of the site fol­low­ing pri­vati­sa­tion. Over 230 work­ers were based at Lon­gan­net at the time of its clo­sure.

The sta­tion was con­structed on 74 acres of land.

In a bid to iden­tify a site for the de­vel­op­ment, Talgo has been hold­ing dis­cus­sions with land own­ers, de­vel­op­ment agen­cies, coun­cils, re­search es­tab­lish­ments, schools, col­leges and univer­si­ties.

Talgo pres­i­dent, Car­los de Pala­cio said: “The estab­lish­ment of a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in the UK is a sig­nif­i­cant part of Talgo’s fu­ture strat­egy.

“Talgo’s aim is to es­tab­lish true man­u­fac­tur­ing – rather than as­sem­bling from parts made else­where. This means that we will draw from ma­te­ri­als and ex­per­tise across the UK.

“This keeps more money in the UK econ­omy, and cre­ates more skilled long–term jobs.

“Although there can only be one fac­tory site, we have es­tab­lished last­ing re­la­tion­ships with all of the coun­tries, re­gions and ar­eas that we have vis­ited.

“We are now de­vel­op­ing those re­la­tion­ships, to en­sure that – ir­re­spec­tive of the fac­tory lo­ca­tion - Talgo pro­vides great op­por­tu­ni­ties across the UK.”

Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for In­fra­struc­ture and Con­nec­tiv­ity, Michael Math­e­son said: “With po­ten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant new jobs and sup­ply chain op­por­tu­ni­ties, we are de­lighted that Lon­gan­net has been named as one of the fi­nal two short listed lo­ca­tions for Talgo’s fac­tory.

“We are work­ing with Talgo and pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor part­ners across Scot­land to en­sure max­i­mum ben­e­fit from the op­por­tu­nity that Talgo’s in­vest­ment rep­re­sents and look for­ward to Talgo’s fi­nal de­ci­sion in the near fu­ture.”

Fu­tureLon­gan­net could be site for fac­tory mak­ing trains

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