Local councillors agreed to approve development of the site on Bridge Road at a meeting on Wednesday (14 November). Full approval was expected to be signed within the next few days.
Existing buildings at the site will be demolished as part of the redevelopment of the site to be replaced with a new raw materials warehouse and ingredients processing centre.
Gross external area of the proposed building would be 18,965m2, while the gross internal area would be 18,410m2. The new buildings will consolidate a number of existing processes at the site under one roof, including engineering workshops, stores, warehouse spaces and cold store warehouses.
A 3.5 metre acoustic barrier will be erected around the new buildings, which will be painted in a sky colour to help minimise their impact on the landscape.
‘At the centre of food production’
Commenting on Princes’ planning application, councillor Christopher Brewis said: “The fact that they [Princes] are investing in this site, which is by a mile our biggest local employer, is keeping us at the centre of food production.
“It is the biggest employer and the biggest canning factory of its type in the whole of Europe, so the fact that it’s going to stay there as a key part of the local economy is vital.”
The site is Princes largest food production site and produces a range of canned products including baked beans, vegetables, fruit, pulses and pasta.
Vice-Chairman of the Council Harry Drury added: “It’s an existing commercial site employing a significant number of people and the areas has been identified as employment land that has been there since the 1930s.
‘Supporting our local economy’
“Let’s make sure that we encourage [Princes] to stay in our district and continue employing our residents and supporting our local economy – 30% of the UK produce passes through here and let’s make sure it keeps passing through here.”
A spokesman for Princes told Food Manufacture the investment was a signal of its long-term commitment to UK manufacturing at Long Sutton, and would “improve the efficient running of our foods business, enhancing both product quality and manufacturing controls”.
They added: “It will also support us in being a more agile and responsive business, able to reflect changing consumer and retailer needs in our product and packaging innovation.”
Approval for the planned development comes nine months after Princes announced it was conducting a review of the business.
In October, Princes launched a consultation into the future of its Chichester factory, affecting 200 jobs, in a wider drive to modernise production that also entails the planned closure of its Newton Heath juice plant.