Luxury brand Burberry plans to employ more than 1,000 people at a new manufacturing and weaving facility for its heritage trench coat in the heart of Leeds.
Burberry said that work on the site, in the South Bank of Leeds, is due to begin in 2016 with an initial investment of £50m. The facility is expected to be completed in 2019.
A spokesman said: “The proposed site will allow Burberry to continue to produce its most iconic product, the heritage trench coat, in Yorkshire where the brand has been manufacturing for over half a century.”
The new facility will replace the two existing manufacturing and weaving centres in Castleford and Cross Hills, in West Yorkshire. The plan is for all the teams from Castleford and Cross Hills to move to the new site, bringing all employees together under one roof. The company employs 700 staff in Castleford and around 70 in Cross Hills.
Burberry plans to hand the Cross Hills and Castleford sites back to the local community, so they can be used for regeneration schemes. The first phase of development will see an area of the South Bank site redeveloped to create a new facility that will offer increased capacity for trench coat production, more efficient ways of manufacturing, and the potential to develop and produce other products at the site. Later phases of development include plans to restore and renew the Grade I listed Temple Works building.
Announcing the project, Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer, Christopher Bailey, who was born in Halifax, said: “I am delighted to announce that the next chapter of Burberry’s manufacturing story will be right here in Yorkshire. Burberry is a proudly British brand and we are so excited that our plan for a new site in South Bank, Leeds, means that we will continue to produce our most iconic product – the trench coat – in this wonderful part of the country for many years to come.”
The news was welcomed by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who said: ““Burberry is one of Britain’s most iconic brands and it’s fantastic to hear about their plans to keep manufacturing in Britain by investing over £50m into a new production facility in Leeds. Their decision to base the new centre in the heart of Yorkshire, creating hundreds of new jobs in the region is a massive vote of confidence in our plans to build a Northern Powerhouse.”
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is wonderful news for Leeds which has its own rich heritage of cloth making and weaving. Burberry is a truly global British brand and it is an honour that the trench coat, an icon that is sought after around the world, will be made in Leeds’ South Bank.
“We welcome this significant investment in Leeds and are proud that Yorkshire will continue to be the manufacturing home of this great British business, bringing jobs, training and regeneration to the area.”