Local Tory MP Laurence Robertson said he was “delighted” by the news, which he hailed as proof that Britain was set to thrive outside the bloc – while acknowledging the chances of a withdrawal agreement being signed with Brussels were dwindling fast. Dowty Propellers in Huddlecote, Gloucestershire, a leading manufacturer of aircraft propeller systems for both civil and military applications, broke ground on its new manufacturing facility at Gloucester Business Park last week.
The base will serve as the company’s new business headquarters as well as the production and repair facility for Dowty employees in the UK, who are currently working out of interim facilities in the Gloucestershire area.
The company, which is owned by US-based Jefferson Group, manufactures products used in commercial airliners and military airlifters, multi-role seaplanes and marine hovercraft.
Mr Robertson, Tory MP for Tewksbury, said: “What happened probably about three years ago is they had an unfortunate fire at the building and it completely burned down.
So I’m obviously delighted that they’ve decided to come back to this constituency.
“They are owned by Jefferson Group and they employ between 1,600 and 1,800 people so it’s fantastic news.
“It’s also a very good sign for post-Brexit Britain’s ability to thrive outside the European Union.
As for Brexit itself, Mr Robertson admitted it would not all be plain-sailing assuming the UK leaves the EU as planned on October 31 – but he predicted the nation would weather the storm.
He said: “There are bound to be one or two bumps in the road.
“But when people voted three years ago they knew things were going to change.
“Boris wants a deal but I think the likelihood is a trade deal after we come out is more likely now.”
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Dowty President Oliver Towers said: “Our investment in the new facility demonstrates our commitment to the future of Dowty Propellers and the future potential of our people and products.”
Dowty Propellers is also involved in a £20M project to develop propeller systems and future propulsion systems.
The project, Digital Propulsion, is match funded by the UK Government and supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute with a grant of £9.5 million.
Partners include the UK’s National Composites Centre, The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.
Aerospace Minister Richard Harrington said: “Today’s announcement is another vote of confidence in the UK’s world-class aerospace manufacturing and engineering industry.
“Dowty’s new facility will pioneer technologies for both civil and military aircraft and this decision shows how our modern Industrial Strategy is ensuring the UK remains a hub for high-skilled work and technology both now and in the future.”