New £7m hub key to Sylatech growth plans

Sylatech has submitted plans to build a new �7m manufacturing plant in Pickering, North Yorkshire.
Sylatech has submitted plans to build a new �7m manufacturing plant in Pickering, North Yorkshire.
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A COMPANY which is developing a hand-held scanning device that aims to help GPs detect cancer in its cellular form has revealed its intention to create a hi-tech business park in rural Yorkshire after submitting plans to build a new £7m manufacturing plant.

Sylatech, which is in a joint venture with York University to develop the listening technology, has bought a site in Pickering, North Yorkshire, where it will relocate 170 staff from its current base at Kirkbymoorside.

The technology has been in development for the last 18 months and the company hopes to unveil the device in 2017/18.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, chairman Mark Chappell said: “That project on its own will justify the need to have a different type of manufacturing plant but we are developing a business that is focused on a number of significant developments.”

The company is investing £10m to develop three major projects and expects to create around 200 new jobs in the next three or four years.

The second project is the development of an anti-drone system in response to the huge demand to protect government buildings and oil installations all over the world. It has been developing the system for the last 12 months and expects to launch the prototype this year. “We have had an indirect inquiry from a company in the US for this system to protect The White House,” said Mr Chappell.

Sylatech has also developed a system that will recycle plastic by breaking it down and turning it back into oil.

The company, which has a £7m turnover, is known for designing and manufacturing components for aerospace, satellite and defensive systems. Its clients include Airbus and Boeing. Mr Chappell said Sylatech has made the weather radar systems for every Boeing plane currently in operation.

But its current projects, which are still in their infancy, could take the company in a dramatically different direction.

“We are heading off into some groundbreaking stuff,” said Mr Chappell. “We are moving the business up the food chain by using advanced systems.”

The company intends to relocate from its existing outdated premises, where it has been based since 1964, to the larger site which it hopes will form part of a ‘centre for excellence’ designed to attract likeminded businesses to locate to this part of rural Ryedale.

Sylatech, which is part family owned, plans to build a 55,000 sq ft production facility for itself, leaving a further 130,000 sq ft of commercial floor space, for other companies. An application has been submitted to Ryedale District Council.

The proposals for the 6.6 hectare site, adjacent to the Thornton Road Industrial Estate on the eastern outskirts of Pickering, have been developed in close conjunction with officers at the council as part of its drive to secure and develop employment opportunities in the area.

The new Sylatech building would be three storeys high and house the production and assembly processes, research and development and office facilities.

The scheme involves the full remediation of the site which once contained a natural gas processing plant, and is now bare grazing land, as well as creating dedicated habitat for newts which are prevalent in the area.

David Boulton, head of planning in the North at Carter Jonas in Harrogate, helped the company to submit its planning application. He said: “This is a major positive development which aims to retain a specialist manufacturing business and a locally skilled workforce in the area.

“The proposals have evolved to address many issues and, if approved, will be a significant asset to this part of Ryedale.

“It shows that innovative businesses can thrive in a rural location and provide both excellent employment prospects and a wonderful living environment – the best of both worlds.”

Mr Boulton added: “The fact that this area is retaining a hi-tech business that could relocate to somewhere like York is important. They want to retain their workforce and keep things local. There is a heritage there that they want to continue and this is the nearest available location to their business.”