New action plan to make South Holland the ‘capital’ of UK food industry

South Holland District Council deputy leader and cabinet member for commercialisation Coun Nick Worth.

South Holland District Council deputy leader and cabinet member for commercialisation Coun Nick Worth.

  • Area to be promoted as fruit and vegetable hub of eastern England
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An “action plan” has been unveiled to boost the South Holland economy by promoting it as the centre of food production in eastern England.

The “Open for Business Action Plan”, drawn up by South Holland District Council, will form the basis on which to attract new businesses, investment and jobs into the area.

Activities based around the cultivation, harvesting, packing, storage, processing and distribution of agricultural products form the mainstay of South Holland’s economic success.

South Holland District Council deputy leader Coun Nick Worth

Figures from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership showed that 25 per cent of vegetables grown in the UK are produced in the county, as is 12 per cent of wheat, 21 per cent of flowers and 21 per cent of turkey production.

A report produced on behalf of district council deputy leader Nick Worth and presented at a full council meeting on Wednesday said: “It is true to say that activities based around the cultivation, harvesting, packing, storage, processing and distribution of agricultural products form the mainstay of (South Holland’s) economic success.

“The local economy is very strong nationally on processed foods and fresh produce but, as well as being a food cluster, the South Lincolnshire area is also the leading area nationally for the production of (plants), with a particularly strong cut flower and bulb sector.

“South Holland is at the heart of a wider sub-regional centre for fresh produce which (also includes) Peterborough, Fenland, West Norfolk, Boston and South Kesteven, (with) Spalding as the (effective) capital of this area.”

The report goes on to urge the district council to “refresh its approach to economic and business growth to ensure it meets local business needs and maximises its contribution to the prosperity of the district”.

Ways to do this outlined in the report include a “business-friendly planning service”, better links between food producers and the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, Holbeach, grants for businesses and a series of Meet the Buyer events where firms can learn how to win council contracts.

Julie Kennealy, the council’s executive director of commercialisation, said: “South Holland buys a vast range of goods and services on behalf of residents and businesses, as well as behind-the-scenes services which enable the council to operate.

“Our teams can find out more about the businesses out there which are offering new and exciting ideas, services and ways of operating.”

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