Planning approval granted for £150m Co Antrim drinks can factory

An artistic impression of the new £150 million Ardagh Metal Packaging factory, which will be built at Global Point Business Park, Co Antrim.

ONE of the world's biggest packaging companies can now start work on a new £150 million factory in Co Antrim after securing full planning permission on Monday night.

Drinks can manufacturer Ardagh Metal Packaging (AMP) will build the 460,000 sq ft facility at Invest NI’s Global Point Business Park in Newtownabbey, creating 160 jobs.

Another 30 jobs are expected to be created indirectly through associated suppliers and businesses.

AMP, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, first announced the factory plans last November.

The packaging giant said it needs the new factory to supply its growing customer base on the island of Ireland, Britain and Europe. It will also supply longstanding customers Coca Cola and Guinness-maker Diageo.

It represents one of the biggest single biggest cash investments in new production capability in Northern Ireland in recent history.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s planning committee formally approved AMP’s plans on Monday night, just 18 weeks after the major application was lodged.

AMP is 75 per cent owned by the Ardagh Group, which traces its origins back to glass manufacturing in Dublin in the 1930s. It is now based in Luxembourg.

It’s understood the group is keen to progress the development as soon as possible.

The project will have two phases. The first, comprising the main production facility, will span some 414,453 sq ft.

A second phase will include 44,000 sq ft of warehousing and storage space.

The construction phase is expected to take around 14 months, involving around 270 jobs.

AMP said that when operational, the facility will be worth around £16m a year to the north’s economy.

Speaking on Monday night, David Spratt, chief executive of AMP Europe, expressed his thanks to Antrim and Newtownabbey Council and said it was great news for the drink can manufacturer.

“We are delighted to be granted planning permission to deliver a new innovative manufacturing facility in Newtownabbey and progress closer to the creation of nearly 200 new jobs for the local employment market whilst also supporting circular economy growth,” said Mr Spratt.

“We appreciate the excellent support from the Council and the constructive engagement with the local community.”

The AMP plant is one of a number of major investment schemes in the pipeline for Global Point Business Park.

The Invest NI-owned site has been selected for the £98m Queen's University-led Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (AMIC), which is part of the Belfast Region City Deal.

Car components manufacturer Sensata Technologies has also selected the site for its new £16.5m research and development centre, while Belfast firm Steel Mac Distribution Ltd is also planning a new £4m manufacturing facility at Global Point.