August 2, 2012

Law firm Gordons advises on acquisition of Keighley hub for manufacturing innovation and excellence

Yorkshire law firm Gordons has advised the Centre of Manufacturing Excellence over acquiring a unit in Keighley’s Dalton Mills that will house its new so-called fab lab.

Fab Lab Airedale – the first two words of its name are an abbreviation of digital fabrication laboratory – is intended to be a hub, stimulating innovation and excellence in the area’s manufacturing and related sectors.

The project aims to help local people and organisations design and make almost any goods, from small electronic circuit boards to furniture. Tasks made possible by the lab’s contents will include the design of concepts on 2D and 3D software, development of scale models and manufacture of final products quickly and cost-effectively, in addition to the production of replacements for broken obsolete parts.

A Keighley-based not-for-profit organisation, the Centre of Manufacturing Excellence aims to be a catalyst for the growth of manufacturing in the Leeds City Region. It grew out of the Airedale Partnership – a private-sector led initiative supporting regeneration in Keighley, Bingley and Shipley – and is also backed by Bradford Council and Leeds City College.

The Manchester-based Manufacturing Institute, which helps industry participants adopt best practice and maximise profits, provides additional support.

Nick Chamberlain, partner in Gordons’ commercial property team, advised on the agreement for lease and lease of the Keighley unit.

Jane Bilous, Masterplan Delivery officer, the Airedale Partnership, said: “Nick helped us through the process with practical and helpful advice, enabling us to achieve our demanding timescales. Dalton Mills has been an imposing part of the Keighley town centre landscape for more than 140 years and has just undergone a multi-million pound makeover. It’s therefore the perfect location for our exciting new venture and without Gordons’ help, we may not have secured a presence at such an outstanding site.”

Fab Lab Airedale will become part of a worldwide network of 150 such sites, located from Southern Ghana to Northern Norway – including one in Manchester – whose members share ideas and designs.

Nick Chamberlain said: “It was gratifying to work on a project with so much potential to unlock the latent flair and talent which undoubtedly exists in the Aire Valley. We are sure it will make a vital contribution to stimulating manufacturing activity in the area and wish all concerned every success with this hugely worthwhile venture.”