Blackstone nears deal to buy former Britishvolt gigafactory site

Private equity giant Blackstone is proposing to snap up the former site of collapsed firm Britishvolt in Northumberland, with plans to build one of Europe’s largest data centres.

The proposed deal by receivers will firmly end any faint prospect of an electric car battery factory being built on the site.

Britishvolt had proposed to build a £3.8 billion gigafactory on the site in Blyth, before the company collapsed early last year.

Australian firm Recharge Industries took control of Britishvolt after it went into administration, but Recharge was faced with a winding up petition last month.

On Monday, official receivers for Britishvolt Properties revealed they have entered into a contract to sell the site to a subsidiary of Blackstone, the US investment giant.

Blackstone said the 235-acre site is now set to be transformed “into one of the largest data centre facilities in Western Europe”.

Northumberland County Council will assess the plans next week.

Council leader Glen Sanderson said the council’s cabinet will “consider this really unique opportunity for Northumberland which offers a huge boost to the regeneration and renaissance of the local area”.

He said the data centre plans are expected to create over 1,600 direct jobs, including 1,200 long-term construction jobs.

If agreed, the council would hand Blackstone long-term control of the site of up to £110 million in funding for local development, as well as £20 million to purchase the land.

Bob Maxwell, joint receiver at Begbies Traynor Group, said: “From a difficult situation, the future sale will ensure a very bright future for the site.

“The process of securing a dependable buyer who has a clear, deliverable plan for the long-term use of this strategically important land asset was crucial after the failure of the last business at the site, and was a key factor in gaining the approval of Northumberland County Council who held options on the site.”