A spokeswoman for Wilkin & Sons told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The new factory is needed because of increased demand, especially for the mini jars, which are used by hotels across the world.”
The company has outgrown its existing factory in Tiptree, Essex which has been extended “in a piecemeal fashion over the last 125 years”.
It has met increasing demand for its product by introducing double shifts and 24-hour working but the inefficiencies of its ageing facility and the lack of space have proved difficult.
It has now submitted a planning application to Colchester Borough Council to demolish its existing premises and build a new 13,000m2 factory and warehouse.
Factory operational within three years
Colchester Borough Council’s planning officers have recommended the application for approval, so it will now go to the Planning Committee this week (April 11).
If the Committee grants the final seal of approval, the factory will be operational within three years.
Getting the go-ahead will enable Wilkin & Sons to keep its manufacturing in the area and transfer more than 300 roles from its existing workforce to the new premises.
The company also anticipates the expansion will enable its employees to gradually rise in number to reach up to 500 by 2030.
Wilkin & Sons joint md Ian Thurgood, said: “Acceptance of the plans at this final stage will ensure our commitment to developing our business in Tiptree for the foreseeable future.
Five years of thought and planning
“It’s been five years of careful thought and planning but we’re used to that: this is a business which owes its existence to forethought.
“Intense local scrutiny of our plans has, without doubt, produced a solution that allows us to remain in Tiptree, if our local councillors agree.”
The application includes a factory and warehouse plus a shop, museum and office.
The company has also requested the allocation of greenfield sites for 244 new homes, a new roundabout, 4.5 hectares of open space, allotments and cycle paths.
Plans also include a new private sewage treatment plant and associated service road, storage attenuation reservoir, foul and surface water drainage network to serve the new factory.
Thurgood said: “Without the support of the village, we could not have reached this stage. It’s up to us now to make sure we live up to expectations.”