Industrial and logistics developer Panattoni has acquired the 370-acre Honda site in Swindon and plans to invest £700 million in it.

Honda is leaving the site in July after more than 30 years, following a restructuring, first announced in 2019.

James Watson, development director for Panattoni, said: “Panattoni is committing to invest over £700m into the site to attract new employers and provide for existing businesses looking to expand in Swindon.

“We will be working very closely with Honda and Swindon Borough Council, along with the community and its representatives, to regenerate the site.”

Renata Lovat Short, senior associate with law firm and Thames Tap partner Clark Holt, said: “The positive vibes coming from Swindon on the development and regeneration front are just getting better and better and the announcement that Panattoni have entered into a contract to buy the 370-acre Honda site is great news.

“They intend to start redevelopment of this strategic employment site in Spring 2022, which will of course be a huge boost to the local and regional economy.

“This, in addition to the new Zurich HQ in the centre of the town and the huge Amazon warehouse on the outskirts, is certainly cementing Swindon’s bright future and reinforces the view that its central geographic location is one of its key assets.

“The town appears to increasingly attract big name businesses and it seems inevitable that this trend will continue.

“Further, Swindon Borough Council’s energetic leadership in promoting the town is also very impressive currently and the investment prospectus that they recently published for the proposed new Cultural Quarter is very exciting.

“Things are certainly looking up and it appears that the often-cited description of Swindon as a tired old industrial town is in the course of becoming redundant.”

The anticipated date for handing over the site, Spring 2022, is subject to planning, and Panattoni says it will start development soon after.

Honda says it is committed to leaving in a responsible way.

Director Jason Smith said: “We are pleased to have identified a capable new owner of the site.

“From our engagement with Panattoni and initial discussions with Swindon Borough Council, we are confident that the new owner can bring the development forward in a commercially timely fashion and generate exciting prospects for Swindon and the wider community.”

Honda has said it will assess opportunities for small sections at the edge of the site that are not required for Panattoni’s development to be utilised by neighbouring communities.

Susie Kemp, chief executive of the council, said: “The new opportunities outlined by Panattoni will be a major step in Swindon’s rejuvenation following Honda’s exit. Their investment offers a significant boost to the local economy and we are excited by the prospect of this redevelopment creating thousands of jobs for Swindon and the surrounding area.

“We already have a strong working relationship with Panattoni following their recent development of the adjacent site, Symmetry Park, and look forward to working with them over the next year. We understand that Honda’s key aim was to identify a responsible new owner and I believe today’s announcement demonstrates that.”

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