Specialist materials solutions company Lucideon has confirmed it is in talks about becoming the flagship tenant at a multi-million-pound enterprise site in North Staffordshire, where hundreds of jobs are expected to be created.
The pioneering global company says the plan is not yet concrete as funding is being sought but says like all good businesses it is exploring its options.
Meanwhile, the Borough Council says it is proposing feasibility studies into building a bespoke headquarters for Lucideon at the site, just off the A500 near Talke, and developing satellite industrial units nearby for associated businesses. The aim would be to create a technology cluster.
Lucideon is currently in the process of moving from its current Grade II listed headquarters in Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, to a bigger facility at Stone Business Park, which also houses The AMRICC Centre ceramics research facility.
The vast majority of its near 200 employees – including scientists, engineers and other specialists – have already made the move with one last specialist lab due to finalise its transfer by the end of the year.
However, if the Chatterley Valley West plan bears fruit the move to Stone is expected to be an interim one with the company prepared to transfer again.
Lucideon Chief Executive Tony Kinsella, pictured above, said: “We can confirm that we are in dialogue with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council regarding the potential creation of an “Advanced Ceramic Campus” at Chatterley Valley West.
“All good businesses explore options for the future and this is one of those. However, nothing is yet confirmed as funding is still being sought and the listing of the Stoke site has made that more difficult.
“All our energy at the moment is directed towards making our new Stone site fully operational, and we are thrilled with the new capabilities that is giving us. We are also excited to be hosting and managing The AMRICC Centre, an open access facility for the entire ceramic industry, at our new Stone site.”
Stephen Sweeney, Deputy Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Cabinet member for Finance, Town Centres and Growth, said: “Lucideon is an internationally recognised leader in its field, looking to expand.
“Most of its 170 employees are scientists, engineers and experts in their specialisms and we want this company to grow in Newcastle.
“Not only will it be a success in its own right, but Lucideon has the potential to be at the heart of a cluster of hi-tech businesses at Chatterley Valley West creating well-paid jobs for the long term.”
A report to be considered at the council’s Cabinet next week says that site developer Harworth usually builds generic units, rather than bespoke premises.
Now the authority wants to explore buying the 2.3 acre plot and completed building from Harworth, and then renting it to Lucideon on a long-term basis.
At the same time, the council wants to investigate the feasibility of buying three smaller units at Chatterley Valley West and renting them to businesses involved in similar materials research and development.
The Chatterley Valley West project, which has the potential to create up to 1,700 jobs, is benefiting from £3.5 million investment by Staffordshire County Council and £3.6 million from the Kidsgrove Town Deal after a successful bid by the Borough Council.