TVR in mystery barn rumour

IS this humble barn the new home of TVR?

Mystery has surrounded the future of the once proud British sports cars firm ever since it went to the wall 15 months ago.

It was widely rumoured Russian owner Nikolai Smolenski would build his cars abroad after TVR's Blackpool factory was closed and its workforce sacked.

But mystery has deepened in the last week after the iconic TVR logo appeared on the front of a barn on the outskirts of Wesham

What is going on behind the doors is shrouded in secrecy with those working inside refusing to discuss what is happening or who is in charge.

But enthusiasts believe the site at Wesham House Farm, on the A585, Fleetwood Road, is being used for "design and research development".

Derek Smith, deputy editor of the TVR Car Club magazine, said both Russian millionaire Smolenski and TVR managing director David Oxley were reportedly involved.

Mr Smith added: "We have it on good authority the Kirkham site is going to be used as a design studio, a kind of design and research development office.

"They have approached an engineering company in Kent to supply the engines, but it is still unsure where they are going to be built."

One former TVR employee, who asked not to be named, said: "It's an open secret, about 10 former workers are there doing design and research.

"I've heard they have two cars on the go, but it's all hush-hush."

Mr Oxley refused to comment on the rumours of new TVR cars being designed or answer any questions about the workshop in Wesham.

Nine years ago TVR employed 750 people at its Bristol Avenue factory in Bispham. But in December 2006 it was placed into administration only to be bought back by Mr Smolenski.

Wesham House Farm was previously the home of Submarine Manufacturing and Products Ltd which has now relocated to Blackpool. The site is owned by local businessman Phil Connolly.

His company MSS Holdings was given planning permission by Fylde Council for a new storage and workshop building at the farm last autumn.

He declined to comment on who was now running a business in the workshop.

However, Coun Roger Small, Fylde Council's portfolio holder for Development and Regeneration, said: "If the rumours are correct and TVR have some presence in Fylde, it's only to be welcomed."