New jobs..

Refurbished hangar

A £2 million refurbishment of Bruntingthorpe proving ground’s principal building will create a state-of-the-art vehicle auction centre and bring new jobs to the former air base, which is home to a number of companies and organisations employing more than 250 people on the 670-acre site.

 The new centre for Manheim Auctions is due to be formally opened early in 2011 when vehicle auctions – already being held in a temporary hall in Bruntingthorpe’s large events building – will be relocated to the former Vulcan Bomber hangar, known as B1.  Manheim then plans to expand its auctions during 2011 beyond the current levels.

 The go-ahead for the development, and subsequent investments, came when Harborough District Council’s planning committee unanimously approved a change-of-use application.  David Walton, managing director of Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, said he was delighted: “Unanimous approval is a significant endorsement of our carefully-planned proposals to give this building a new lease of life that will create new employment opportunities as well as all the associated benefits to the local economy.

 “Manheim has already made a substantial investment to base its premier and largest auction super-centre here.  The decision was made largely on the strength of our existing infrastructure and services, all of which help to facilitate an environmentally-sensitive operation with reduced car-transporter and vehicle movements.”

 Mr Walton said Bruntingthorpe and Manheim were working as partners, with Bruntingthorpe’s investment refurbishing the B1 building likely to be nearly £500,000.  By the time all the work is completed, Manheim and Bruntingthorpe will have invested a total of almost £2 million in establishing the auction super centre on site and creating and equipping the new auction facilities in the former hangar.

 The new auction super-centre will incorporate vehicle display areas, offices and meeting rooms, catering areas and facilities as well as a bespoke auction hall designed for efficient operation and minimal vehicle movements.  Some of the new facilities will be on a 495 sq m mezzanine floor being built.  Manheim’s operations will occupy some 5,012 sq m of the B1 building’s 7,446 sq m footprint – almost double the space it utilises in its current temporary Bruntingthorpe accommodation.

 Seven existing B1 occupant companies, who are involved in emergency services driver training, aviation and automotive activities, have offices in the remaining area.  They will stay in the building as will Bruntingthorpe’s canteen, which will be upgraded at the same time as the refurbishment programme.  One of the major aesthetic improvements to B1 will be construction of an attractive new façade that will be immediately seen by all visitors arriving at the proving ground’s main entrance security check point.

 Mike Pilkington, managing director of Manheim Auctions, said: “Our activity at Bruntingthorpe got off to a great start this year.  This auction super-centre, the best in the Midlands, further enhances Manheim’s capability and enables us to set new standards in vehicle remarketing.  I am confident that the £2 million investment will reinforce the reputation of both Bruntingthorpe and Manheim in the years to come.”