Nursery growers ready to invest millions in expanding

Opperman Plants managing director Mike Opperman at the Low Fulney site he's hoping to expand
Opperman Plants managing director Mike Opperman at the Low Fulney site he's hoping to expand
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BUSINESS is growing great for two Spalding horticultural firms ready to invest millions of pounds in extensions.

Both Opperman Plants Ltd and Lansen Nursery Ltd want to put up more glasshouses and build a reservoir to service them. It their plans are passed by South Holland District Council, they would create about 17 jobs.

Opperman, which produces house plants for supermarkets and the wholesale market, wants to build on a four-acre site next to its existing premises in Mallard Road, Low Fulney.

Managing director Mike Opperman said the £2million investment would take production from five-and-a-half million plants per year to seven million.

Construction work would take two years to complete and increase annual turnover from £5m to £7m.

Mr Opperman said: “We’re just trying to expand and would need a few more people.

“We want to put glasshouses on three acres and build a reservoir which will collect rainwater and redistribute around the site. That would make big savings on our water bill.”

Mr Opperman says business is on the up for local horticultural firms because their products are trusted.

He said: “I think there is a tendency to want to buy British plants at the moment and we’re riding on the back of that.”

If the extension goes ahead, it would increase the firm’s internal floorspace by more than half and stand at about 47,500 square metres.

Opperman Plants employs a regular workforce of 36 and has dozens of seasonal workers. The planning application states a further ten jobs would be created.

Meanwhile, Lansen Nursery, which is little more than a stone’s throw away in Holbeach Road, is planning a similar expansion resulting in seven new jobs.

The garden plant wholesaler, which prides itself on being one of the most modern and progressive in its field, hopes to get permission to increase its glasshouse area threefold and build a reservoir.

The expansion would take the firm’s internal floorspace from about 6,500sq m to more than 26,000.

Simon Redden, of neighbouring Redford Flowers, has no objection to the business expanding but is concerned that the front yard might not be able to cope with the increase in collections and deliveries.

He also wants the nursery to have a name sign to help lorry drivers, as “several artic lorries per week enter our yard thinking they are at Lansen Nursery”.

Both applications should be determined by the district council by mid-July.