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MISSILE manufacturers MBDA is set to move to the new Logistics North site, after councillors gave it the go-ahead to build a multi-million pound new facility on the estate.

Up to 400 staff will be employed at the new plant in the former Cutacre open cast mine, which is now being developed into an industrial estate plus a 225-hectare country park.

The company, which builds surface-to-air missiles used by more than 90 armed forces around the world, has had a base in Lostock for the past 80 years, but has been looking for a new home “nationally and internationally”.

At yesterday’s meeting of the planning committee, councillors voted unanimously to approve the new build.

Bernard Waldron, general manager at the Lostock MBDA site said the move to Logistics North, just off junction 4 of the M61, showed the company’s commitment to staying in Bolton.

He added: “We have come to the end of our current lease, and asked our shareholders to consider staying in the North West.

“They agreed to a £30 million bespoke development that will give shared skills and employment to the Bolton area for the next 25 to 50 years.”

He added that the company has ties with schools and universities in the region and that 85 per cent of their current employees live within 10 miles of Bolton.

Cllr Nick Peel said he was “absolutely more than happy” to move approval of the application, which means that MBDA would stay in Bolton.

He added: “It’s a great opportunity for our town and for the site, and will act as a pull for other investors to come to Cutacre.”

Cllr Bob Allen said: “MBDA is an integral part of our town.

“I’m really pleased it is staying in Bolton.”

Supermarket giants Aldi was the first major company to commit to the Logistics North.

It will build its new North West headquarters and distribution centre on the site.

The director of planning at Bolton Council will give the final stamp to the plan, once a Section 106 agreement is finalised.