Rail hub, M&S centre on track to create huge number of jobs
WORK is under way on two multi-million-pound projects that will bring hundreds of jobs to Castle Donington.
Construction has started on a giant distribution building for Marks & Spencer.
It is expected to employ more than 1,000 people at full capacity. The land where building work has started is on a 120-acre site formerly home to Castle Donington power station.
Now owned by Brailsford-based Clowes Developments and dubbed the East Midlands Distribution Centre, it has the capacity to support between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs.
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To link the site to the nearby Birmingham to Nottingham rail line, Clowes is investing around £7 million.
A contract was signed with Network Rail last year and work on a rail connection will be complete within a couple of weeks.
The connection will pave the way for a 1.5-mile stretch of track to be laid and the construction of a rail terminal building to handle goods.
The project could see Marks & Spencer accepting rail freight by the end of next year.
The rail hub will be capable of handling goods from UK deep-sea ports and containers arriving from the European rail network via the Channel Tunnel.
Jason Keegan, head of logistics at Marks & Spencer, said: "Construction work has started on our new site and so far everything is progressing to plan.
"This is the second of our new distribution centres and it will become a key part of our business.
"It will also be the first Marks & Spencer facility to have an integrated rail freight terminal which will enable us to transport more products by rail in the future.
"We are delighted to be investing in the area as Castle Donington offers us the right amount of space, a support network of resources and fantastic transport links," he said.
At 900,000 sq ft, the distribution centre will become one of the biggest buildings in the East Midlands with a floor area the size of 10 football pitches.
It will feature roofs to capture rainwater and the building's design allows for solar panels to be fitted in the future.
Planning permission for a rail terminal was one of the reasons why the retailer chose the East Midlands Development Centre for its new warehouse.
Paul Shanley is the director at Clowes Developments responsible for the East Midlands Distribution Centre.
He said: "I expect the main line connection to be finished within a couple of weeks.
"It is a very significant investment for us and by mid-March we will have put out to tender the contract to lay 1.5 miles of track which will arrive on site via the railway."