Folding bike maker Brompton Bicycle has unveiled plans for a new eeco-friendly factory and headquarters complex in Ashford, Kent that will help it move towards doubling its capacity to more than 200,000 bikes a year.
The company aims to open the new facility in 2027, moving away from west London where it opened its first factory from two railway arches in Bollo Lane, Acton in 1986.
Its current factory in Greenford, which will continue to operate until 2030, was opened in 2015 and enabled the company to increase its output to 100,000 bikes annually.
The new factory and HQ complex, designed by architect Guy Hollaway of Hollaway Studios, will be located within on a 100-acre floodplain, where Ashford Borough Council aims to create a 60-acre public nature reserve including a community cycle path.
Sustainability is central to the design in terms of energy use, insulation, use of natural light and air flow as well as the construction materials employed, among other things.
Under the travel plan drawn up for the site, no new parking spaces will be created with staff and visitors encouraged to cycle, walk or use public transport to reach the factory, which will also have a visitors’ centre, museum and café.
The development is being undertaken in partnership with Ashford Borough Council and Quinn Estates, with the Kent town being home since 2014 to one of the earliest Brompton Bike Hire docks at Ashford International Station.
Brompton CEO Will Butler-Adams said: “As we face climate change, combined with poor mental & physical health in our cities, where most of the world population live, we need to adapt.
“There has been a global realisation post-pandemic that we need to change how we live in our cities, to design them around the people that live in them, not the automobile. Brompton has a large part to play in supporting that transition, but we need to have more space to innovate and create the products of the future.
“London was the inspiration for the Brompton and our success is in large part is due to our diverse and skilled staff who continue to nurture and develop our company. By choosing Ashford we can retain this strong connection to London and the UK, whilst being on the doorstep of Europe.
“We have a long journey ahead with the planning and development of the new site, but we’re thankful for the support of Ashford Borough Council, Hollaway Studios and Quinn Estates towards achieving our combined ambition to build this revolutionary and sustainable bicycle factory of the future.”
Councillor Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, added: “This represents a once in a generation opportunity for the borough to develop a partnership with an internationally renowned cycling brand, that will bring jobs and opportunities to the town, whilst returning the town’s bicycle manufacturing heritage.
“The arrival of the new factory will enable Ashford to fulfil a long-held ambition to create a wetland park that will enhance the environment and encourage more people to explore the district in a sustainable, eco-focused manner. Ashford has set the pace in Kent for inward investment and this new factory will bring many positive benefits to the local area, and will put Ashford on the map as a cycling hub.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.