Published: April 21, 2011
Highbridge firm's expansion could create 100 new jobs

Almost 100 jobs could be created if a Highbridge company gets the go-ahead for a major expansion.

Isleport Foods has submitted a formal planning application to Sedgemoor District Council to expand its factory on the Isleport Business Park.

Bakkavor, the Icelandic fresh food manufacturer which owns the site, said this week that it needs the extra space to fulfill rising orders and wants to construct two extensions to its facilities which may create 92 new jobs.

The new jobs would be created across four departments: goods in and low risk, high risk, packing and despatch and office.

The plans, which have this week won the backing of Burnham and Highbridge Town Council's Planning Applications Committee, would see the number of staff at the factory increase to a total of 398.

In its planning, design and access statement for Bakkavör, consultancy firm RPS Group said the extension to the main unit alone would increase factory space by 1,200 square metres while a proposed goods-in extension would cover 690 square metres.

"In recent years, the existing facility has outgrown its capacity and operational efficiency requirements. So improvements are required to the existing buildings in order to provide for the growing levels of demand and necessary output, for the applicant’s [Bakkavör’s] range of produce," says the statement.

RPS said the proposed improvements "will not only benefit the applicant but the wider area, given that it will not only secure the long term future of the existing jobs provided by the facility, but also create new employment opportunities."

Highbridge councillor Chris Williams, who was among the town councillors who voted in favour of the proposals, told "We are very much in favour of this scheme, which will create much-needed new jobs in Highbridge. It is good to see this major employer seeking to expand."

Sedgemoor District Council will have the final say on whether the planning application gets the go-ahead, but no issues were raised by the town council.

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