The former Alcoa Europe site in Banbury is set to become a giant warehouse for toy firm The Entertainer after a planning application was approved by Cherwell District Council last Thursday.
The firm – which has 90 stores across the UK including one in Banbury – is set to move the centre of its distribution operation to the Banbury building, which was the single largest production centre of aircraft aluminium during the Second World War.
Members of Cherwell District Council’s planning committee approved consent for the erection of a new distribution centre with ancillary offices, car parking, service yard and access.
Councillor Michael Gibbard, lead member for planning, commented on the plans tabled by Standard Life Investments, which owns the site.
He said: “The former use of this site was primarily for general industrial use but this planning consent now allows for a new building to be built for distribution.
“As a council we are eager for this prominent employment site to be fulfilling its purpose and we need to be flexible with how it is used.”
The building was constructed in the 1930s and occupied by the Northern Aluminium Company.
It was closed in 2008 after the firm, at that point known as SAPA Profiles UK, announced it was to concentrate its aluminium production at other UK sites.
Rob Kinchin-Smith, chairman of the Banbury Civic Society, said he was glad the site was being brought back into use but said the society had hoped it would be used for industry and manufacture which would complement Prodrive, who are set to move to the Hella site next door.
He said: “There’s real danger that rather than becoming an industrial hub Banbury will just become a distribution hub for the whole country.