An opening ceremony was held to herald the dawn of the new site, with the honours shared between the factory’s general manager, Rob James, and Marc Heading. Marc represented Gerald Heading & Sons, the farming company which will supply all of the site’s peas.
“This is a hugely significant milestone in our £80m investment programme at Long Sutton, and we are very pleased to have delivered the new pea plant both ahead of schedule and in time for the start of the busy pea season in Lincolnshire,” said Andy Hargreaves, the Programme Director for Princes.
Heading said: “It’s an honour to be involved in the opening of this impressive new pea plant at Long Sutton. We have been growing peas in the local area for over 50 years since my grandfather ran the business, and we are very proud to continue our relationship with the site as it enters the next stage of its growth and development.”
It is not yet clear whether any new process jobs like these will be added at the site, but there must be plans for some expansion. Those who do join will look forward to a lot of recent upgrades: a further £4 million investment into staff facilities has just been completed.
These include new welfare facilities, a new canteen, and improvements to the on-site office spaces to provide added comfort for those who use them. This means that everyone, from upper management to the workers on the lines, will be able benefit from this injection.
Core investment project
The project will continue to run for the next two years, during which time the factory will remain fully operational as upgrades and investments go on around it.
The next stages, which are yet to be completed, will include both refurbishment and development of the most significant aspects of the existing site. These include plans for the opening of a new raw material warehouse and handling facility, which will be a great complement to the new factory.
Princes will also be adding a new ingredients processing kitchen, and also adding a new production line into their existing setup. This one will be dedicated to the production of canned ready meals, on a flexible basis to keep up with demand.
This area of the investment will total more than £63 million, and the £17 million left will be used to invest in capital projects during the same timeframe.
These improvements will include a replacement hydrostat cooker to keep their equipment as up to date as possible, and a new soft water plant. They will also add an anaerobic digester, which will be able to process the waste and turn it into biodegradable material – fantastic for Prince’s green credentials.
A new IT system implementation is also planned to keep the company running with state of the art software.
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