PLANNING permission has been granted to extend a Wearside car parts factory.
The Lear Corporation has been given permission to extend its factory at Rainton Bridge, which produces foam for vehicle seats.
The planning permission covers extensions to the production building to provide new production line floor space, relocation of the external air treatment plant and installation of a new one and the creation of a new enclosed loading area, overhead conveyor link and sprinkler tank.
The firm issued a statement confirming that permission had been granted to extend the plant but making it clear there were no immediate plans to do so.
“No action will be taken on this until all aspects of a possible expansion have been explored and agreed, and this process will take significant time to complete,” the statement said.
The U.S-based Lear Corporation opened the plant in October 2011, creating 150 jobs immediately with the prospect of another 150 to come.
The factory is next door to Tacle UK, Lear’s joint venture with Japanese company Tachi-S, which has been making car seats for Nissan since 2005.
Sunderland City Council’s business investment team spent 18 months negotiating with Lear to secure the factory and its 300 jobs for Wearside.
Chief investment officer Tom Hurst said: “They looked at the rest of Europe and they certainly could have gone anywhere in the UK.”
Gideon Jewel, Lear’s president of seating operations, Europe and Africa, signed the deal. He said: “The belief in manufacturing that we have experienced here made it a relatively easy decision.”