‘Balle’ gets rolling on new Darwen HQ for Brookhouse Aerospace

Published Tuesday 12 December 2023 at 14:03

A major employer in Darwen is set to expand into a brand-new HQ being developed by Barnfield Construction.

The 41,650sq ft Balle Mill site has been brought forward with support from the £100m Darwen Town Deal to help cement the businesses’ long-term growth plans.

The company has operated a world-class civil and defence aerospace manufacturing facility from Darwen’s historic India Mill for decades.

The new investment will help retain 100 jobs in the town and will pave the way for more than 60 new roles over the next five years.

Chief Executive of Brookhouse, Matthew Rossiter said:

The new development with its additional floorspace, is key in supporting Brookhouse Aerospace’s long-term growth strategy, creating additional capacity and space for expansion.

The purpose-built facility will aid lean manufacturing principles, whilst also supporting the company’s environmental commitments to reduce its carbon footprint and wider social responsibilities.

With close proximity to our existing manufacturing sites, the new development will retain over 100 jobs within the Darwen area and represent the new head office for the company.

Nelson-based Barnfield Construction, which acquired the site in 2012, has now started work on the new HQ, which boasts extensive office and manufacturing space.

Tracy Clavell-Bate, Head of Development at Banfield Construction, said:

It’s great to be on site delivering this new facility for Brookhouse Aerospace – it couldn’t be in a better location for them. 

Completion of the build is expected in the summer of 2024.

The site was brought forward for development with the support of funding through the Darwen Town Deal which helped make the scheme viable.

Wayne Wild, Chair of the Darwen Town Deal, said:

The focus of the £100m Town Deal has always been to kick-start the transformation of Darwen.

We want to use the £25m secured from Government to unlock as much further investment as possible meaning we can create the very best opportunities for our town, residents and business.

This includes creating as many new jobs as we can while, of course, working hard to safeguard what we already have.

I’m really pleased that funding from the Town Deal has helped bring forward the Balle Street site so it can be developed, offering Brookhouse Aerospace the space it needs to be able to achieve its growth ambitions while still in our town.

They were presented with several viable opportunities, some of which were outside of the Darwen area as they were struggling for the right space, and so this is a real coup and again a really good example of the difference the funding can make.

Of course, the Town Deal funding is also going to bring massive investment to our town centre too, with work to the Market Hall and Darwen Library and Theatre starting in 2024 and we’ve already seen the impressive restoration of the Tower and investment at Junction4 Skatepark, Darwen FC, Darwen Cricket Club and more.

On behalf of the Town Deal Board, I’d like to wish Brookhouse Aerospace all the very best for the future, this is a fantastic business which we’re really proud to be home to in Darwen and we can’t wait to see their new HQ.

Barnfield Blackburn Ltd – a joint venture between the Barnfield Group and Blackburn with Darwen Council – has also recently submitted plans for a two-hectare site at Chapels in the town.

The proposals are for a new manufacturing research centre there along with industrial units. And, initial discussions are well advanced with Sheffield University’s AMRC to be the anchor tenant there – housing its first-of-its-kind Additive Manufacturing Accelerator.

Perspex International Ltd, a major employer in the town, is also developing plans to expand its neighbouring Chapels site with a proposed new £30m national manufacturing centre there – again, with support from the Town Deal.

Brookhouse Aerospace will also be retaining its manufacturing space at India Mill.

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