Town gets welcome jobs boost
By Patrick LowmanMORE than 100 jobs have been created at a bacon factory following a £3 million expansion project.Lark Valley Foods, which produces and packs bacon for major food retailers across Britain, has completed a two-storey extension at its Lamdin Road site in Bury St Edmunds.
By Patrick Lowman
MORE than 100 jobs have been created at a bacon factory following a £3 million expansion project.
Lark Valley Foods, which produces and packs bacon for major food retailers across Britain, has completed a two-storey extension at its Lamdin Road site in Bury St Edmunds.
The multi-million-pound project, part funded by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs(Defra), has almost doubled the firm's capacity, which will see its workforce rise from 120 to about 250 by the summer.
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Almost all the jobs that have been created are full-time and recruitment has already started.
Lark Valley Foods was launched in Bury St Edmunds in 1985 and, after a decade of steady progress, moved to the Lamdin Road site in 1995.
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The latest project is the company's most ambitious to date and its managing director, Roy Eastwood, said it had provided Bury St Edmunds with an economic boost.
"Over the last few years everyone here has worked hard at bringing the company back into profitability and adapting to meet our customers demands," he added.
"We were so successful at growing the business that we were able to start thinking of expansion and further growth.
"The extension has allowed us to add more production lines to increase our capacity and provided substantially more storage space for packaging, raw materials and finished product.
"We have always progressed steadily, but I believe this is a real economic boost for Bury St Edmunds."
The town's business community has also welcomed the announcement. Frank Warby, executive committee member of the Bury Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is excellent news.
"We have got very low unemployment in Bury and the wages are also low, so any new venture is good for the town.
"The trouble in Bury is that we have got a shortage of skilled workers – this news might help to bring some more in, or encourage people to be trained up."
The factory was given £861,000 towards its £3m expansion costs by Defra under its processing and marketing grant scheme, designed to improve the agricultural processing and marketing infrastructure in England.
Emma Powlett, team manager with Defra's rural development service in the East of England, said: "Processing and marketing grants give capital investment to businesses which process and market primary English agricultural products.
"We have been very pleased to support the upgrading of this factory, particularly as it created so many full-time jobs for the area and has direct links into supporting the regional pig industry."