Talks are ongoing between Dunlop Motorsport and the landlord of its Birmingham base over a heated lease dispute which threatens 300 jobs.
The historic company is in a wrangle with the Northern Ireland Local Government pension scheme NILGOSC over its base in Ashold Farm Road, Erdington, after it agreed planning permission to redevelop the site with industrial warehousing.
The proposals, which come ahead of the 125-year anniversary of Dunlop in Birmingham next year, mean the company faces looking for another building unless an agreement can be reached.
Spokesman James Bailey told the Post: “We remain in negotiations and our goal is to find a sustainable proposition.
“There is a lease renewal date that the landlord has applied and has had underline planning permission for a change of use to the site.
“It is clearly something that we don’t want to happen. We have got a very experienced workforce here on the site and our first priority is to find a sustainable solution to make sure that remains the case.”
He added: “If that is not the case we have to plan for contingencies but at the moment our goal remains a sustainable proposition.
“We are committed to the motorsport industry and next year will be our 125th anniversary and for most of that time we have been in motorsport.”
NILGOSC claimed its proposed development would employ about 140 people, but the Dunlop Motorsport unit, off Ashold Farm Road, currently employs 303 people, many of them highly skilled engineers, designing and making tyres for the racing world.
The site is near to Goodyear Dunlop’s main headquarters and the company said it had no desire to move.
But the lease is up for renewal and the firm admitted that, if it was not renewed, the unit would close and Dunlop would have to consider moving from Birmingham – leading not only to the loss of the factory but an impact on the local supply chain.
Nobody from NILGOSC could be contacted but spokesman Ashley Chambers, previously accused Goodyear Dunlop of trying to block the application to gain a competitive advantage in the negotiations.
He said: “We are just trying to protect our client’s interests.”
Birmingham City Council planning committee members were furious last month at what they saw as NILGOSC trying to manipulate the planning process to give it a competitive edge in lease negotiations with Dunlop.
However, the committee was advised there was no reason, under planning regulations, to refuse warehousing in an industrial area and reluctantly approved the application.