Heron International and property developer Latimer Associates have entered exclusive talks with UK General Motors arm Vauxhall Motors to buy its closed Luton car plant for a price expected to be tens of millions of pounds, the Financial Times (FT) said.

The FT said that the 56-acre site in Bedfordshire – where Vauxhall employed 4,300 workers before closing in March – will become one of the biggest developments in England if the talks are successful.

Latimer and Heron are hoping to pull down the car factories and build offices and homes, although they do not yet have planning permission. The site could prove attractive for companies because it is next to Luton airport, the FT said.

Latimer Land managing director Mike Thompson told the FT that the cost of taking down the factories and clearing up the site would reach "hundreds of millions".

"There are 2.5 million square feet of factories," he told the FT. "This will be one of, if not the biggest developments [in England]."

Latimer told the FT it was finalising plans and was likely to include "a small proportion of housing" and parkland.

Vauxhall continues to build vans at the nearby IBC plant, and part of the Luton site is still used to produce Frontera sport utility vehicles, the FT added.

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