Hope for 500 Spalding factory jobs falls through

PLANS to build a food factory creating 500 jobs in Spalding have fallen through after the company decided not to expand into South Holland.

PLANS to build a food factory creating 500 jobs in Spalding have fallen through after the company decided not to expand into South Holland.

Irish meat firm Dunbia was interested in setting up a factory on part of the former Bernard Matthews site, but has now decided against the plans.

However, Holbeach-based Ashley King Developments, which owns the site, says other parties are interested in the land and director Ashley King has high hopes that another firm will set up there soon.

Mr King hopes to submit an outline planning application for the site at Clay Lake by the middle of next month and feels that if permission is granted it will be much easier to get a commitment from another firm to set up on the 24.2 acre site.

The plans will seek permission to develop buildings for business, general industrial and storage and distribution

He said: “If we can secure outline planning permission for the site, the next step would be to look at who might like to occupy it.

“We do have several interested parties but to get a commitment from them, they require planning permission and more certainty.”

Once the site is developed it will provide an alternative to the Wardentree Land industrial estate and will offer easy access to the A16 and the new Crowland bypass.

The Bernard Matthews factory closed in September 1998, leaving 300 workers out of job. A sister site in Sutton Bridge was also shut down.

The site was left redundant until it was purchased by Ashley King Developments in February 2008.

Mr King added: “It was our aspiration to convert the redundant premises into a business park.

“It will give users looking to expand a choice. The south side of Spalding has very good road links and there is further potential with the proposed rail hub.”

South Holland District Council’s economic development manager Bruce Wakeling said: “We were disappointed that Dunbia, in the current financial climate, decided not to come but we are aware that there are companies considering moving into South Holland and obviously we want to see jobs created and money invested in the district.

“We will be working with companies and developers to ensure there are sites available for them and Clay Lake is one of a number of sites to attract them.”