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New TVR bid raises Blackpool’s hopes

Hopes have been raised that the former TVR workforce in Blackpool could be back at work under a UK owner.

The Transport and General Workers Union said today it has been told that a bid for the former TVR operation has been made by Rochdale-based Melling Sports Cars, which includes prog rock legend Rick Wakeman on its board.

Al Melling, technical director of Melling Sports Cars, said the inspiration behind the bid was the skilled workforce, which he regards as a ‘prime asset’.

“Those skills are all important,” said Melling who has also confirmed he would want to keep making the TVR cars in Blackpool alongside some of his own models, including the Hellcat and Wildcat.

Melling already has strong links with TVR having designed engines for the vehicles. Andy Robertson, T&G regional industrial organiser, who has been representing the Blackpool workforce, said the move was a boost in confidence.

“Melling’s bid is a welcome one which shows confidence in a workforce which has taken a fair share of blows in the last few months,” he said.

The T&G and Melling, however, warned that success in the bidding process was not guaranteed as the TVR administrators are operating a closed system. This means bids by interested parties are sealed with the administrators choosing the one which gives the best financial return to creditors.

“This is a nerve wracking time,” added Robertson. “Of course we are hopeful that the Melling bid is successful but, equally, we have our feet on the ground and will wait to see what the outcome of the administrators’ process is.”

It is understood a bid has also been lodged by former owner Nikolai Smolenski. Little is known of his intentions but the T&G said the last firm plans which had been put forward by the former owners included the transfer of manufacturing out of Blackpool and the UK to an undisclosed European location.

Melling’s sports cars follow a similar heritage to TVR

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