APRIL 21, 1997
McLaren planning 1000 staff by 2000
THE TAG McLaren empire has promised that it will be employing 1000 people within the next three years. The group currently has 570 employees in its five major divisions: McLaren International (the F1 team), TAG Electronic Systems, TAG McLaren Marketing Services, McLaren Cars and TAG McLaren GT (the sportscar division).
The plan was revealed by the company during the public inquiry into whether or not McLaren should be allowed to build its planned $150m, 400,000 sq. ft headquarters on the site of a former ostrich-breeding center called Mizens Farm, which the company acquired in 1995. The 125-acre site is in a "green belt" zone, which is protected from development.
The increase in the number of McLaren staff is an obvious incentive for the government to agree to the new factory as a way of creating jobs.
The new facility will concentrate all the TAG/McLaren companies in one place, rather than the seven buildings currently being used in Woking. The plan calls for the construction of a large lake, which will be overlooked by the semi-circular factory. This will have six buildings, each linked to a central reception area.
As a further incentive to the authorities McLaren says that part of the development will be the establishment of a world class engineering school, with the aim of producing a new generation of automotive engineers for Britain's car industry - which is struggling to find talented youngsters. There is also expected to be a museum of McLaren machinery - dating back to the first machinery built by Bruce McLaren in the early 1960s.
The plans are expected to receive official government approval within the next 10 days, although McLaren has not managed to get everything its own way. The company wants to have two windtunnels on the new site but these will have to be built either underground or, at very least, hidden by large amounts of earth-moving and tree-planting.
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