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East Midlands Chamber News

£6m Expansion Of Pioneering Nottingham Food Park Creates New Jobs

Southglade Food ParkAfter two years of work, Nottingham City Council has secured a £6m expansion to the pioneering Southglade Food Park.

The expansion of the food park, the first of its kind in the UK, should create 90 new jobs and firms are already queuing to fill the site.

The City Council has secured £4.254m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to add to £1.67 million up-front funding the Council has already made available.

Southglade Food Park phase 1 opened in 2005 and includes 30,000 sq ft of high quality food-grade units in a range of sizes to suit food and drink manufacturers at different stages of development. It also has an on-site business centre offering support, technical services, meeting rooms and a new product development kitchen.

Phase 2, which will be situated alongside the existing site, will double the size of the park.

As well as creating up to 90 new jobs, the new development will establish a regionally significant business cluster in the food and drink sector. It will enable Nottingham to attract new business and foster growth that will benefit the regional economy. The City Council says its investment in Southglade Food Park should at least break even.

Cake and Biscuit LLP company is already based at Southglade Food Park. Partner Lyndon Short said the development would open up big expansion opportunities for them and for other companies.

"These food hubs are magnificent buildings for food and drink manufacturers, and the support provided by The Food and Drink Forum at the Business Centre is invaluable. This is super news about Southglade phase 2."

Councillor Graham Chapman, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: "This scheme creates at least 90 local jobs and even more in the construction of the units, helps the manufacturing industry and will bring a financial return for the council of just over £125,000 a year. It is an excellent deal all around."

Fiona Anderson, managing director of The Food and Drink Forum, which runs the Business Centre at Southglade Food Park and manages the park said: "Phase 1 of Southglade Food Park has been a great success. The companies who are tenants really value being on a specialist incubation site dedicated to food and drink manufacture. The buildings are suitable for their needs, their neighbours are like-minded businesses that respect food industry rules and standards, and they have access on site to support from industry specialists and facilities like a new product development kitchen and meeting rooms.

"They are also part of a wider community of food and drink businesses, which links them to suppliers and customers. I have no doubt that this has been instrumental in helping them to grow, develop and expand.

"Southglade phase 2 is excellent news for the food and drink sector, and for Nottingham as a whole, as we know there are manufacturers who are interested in moving in when additional food grade units become available."

Commenting on the approval of the European Regional Development Fund grant, George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is a welcome investment into a key industrial sector here in Nottingham.

"Not only will it provide additional high grade manufacturing units for food and drink producers, it will also help to create new employment opportunities for the area, as well as facilitating further interest from investors and food production companies looking to locate here.

"The Southglade Food Park is a pioneering initiative which, as the first of its kind in the UK, has paved the way for similar schemes across the country. Phase 2 of its development will cement Nottingham's reputation as the key hub for food and drink manufacturing in the UK."

Lyndon Short, of Cake and Biscuit LLP, added:"We spent two years looking for suitable premises before we moved into a small unit at Southglade Food Park five years ago. We soon
developed a turnover of £500,000 and from employing just two people, we now employ between 40 -70 people dependant on peaks, with a forecast turnover next year of £15million.

"This can all be pointed quite clearly to the fact that we have had fantastic support from The Food and Drink Forum, which is based at the Business Centre on Southglade Food Park, and the quality of the buildings on the park which have allowed us to deal with major retailers like Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Waitrose. We have gone from strength to strength.

"We want to expand our operation, we have the business there waiting, so Southglade phase 2 would open up massive opportunities not only for us but for other businesses too once they realise what these places are like."

Andre Mahjouri, production and technical director at fresh produce processors Start Fresh Ltd, which supplies fresh vegetables and fruit to manufacturers, said: "We were the first company to move into Southglade Business Park, and took two units next to each other. The fact that we are here has helped us to grow our business because of the facilities that are provided with support from The Food and Drink Forum, the test kitchens and the conference rooms at the Business Centre. We have strengthened as a business technically.

"Being on the site makes us attractive to our customers for several different reasons including the fact it's a secure site and it only houses food and drink businesses, who are like-minded and share the same food standards.

"Companies like us can't afford to build purpose-built food factories yet customers have expectations, so if there are units available that businesses don't have to buy outright but can become tenants and then grow, that would be good news.

"If there were bigger factories available as part of Southglade phase 2 we would definitely be involved in trying to move into one of them. I think it's a great idea to expand the park."

Nottingham's pioneering Southglade Food Park was the first of its kind in the UK when it opened in 2005 and has paved the way for similar schemes across the UK. Phase Two of its development will cement Nottingham's reputation as the key hub for food and drink manufacturing in the UK.

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