BMW plant excused from £800k charge amid plans for new factory

Councillors at a city council cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening decided they would agree to clear the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) that the site in Cowley would owe for a “substantial upgrade”.

This comes after the company was granted planning permission for a new factory.

READ MORE: MINI Cooper: Oxford plant now producing new MINI car

Louise Upton, cabinet member for planning, said: “It is a very large sum – a lot of money for us to forego.

“But weighing up the small chance they would choose to not come here against absolutely catastrophic consequences of deciding not to means we should grant this exemption.

Oxford Mail: Louise Upton.Louise Upton. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

“It is very good news that BMW has decided to base their new production for the electric version of the Mini here in Oxford.”

In 2022, more than 50 per cent of all fully electric vehicles manufactured in the UK came from the Oxford plant and there are aims to put the Cowley site on a path to all electric production by 2030.

Despite this, some have questioned whether this is in line with the council’s ethos of encouraging people out of their cars.

Oxford Mail: The Oxford team with the new MINI cooper.The Oxford team with the new MINI cooper. (Image: BMW Group)

One person commented, following the announcement that Oxford is now producing a new Mini car: “Where are all the Oxford Labour, Lib Dem and Green anti-car comments?”

BMW agreed to redevelop the entire Cowley plant site in 2000, demolishing much of the factory, to create the new Oxford factory.

The location has been producing the new Mini, built by BMW since May 2001 and is the largest industrial employer in Oxfordshire.

City council finance chief Ed Turner told the meeting: “Many bad things would happen if the car plant were not here.”

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