Trade organisation The Food and Drink Forum has welcomed news that the expansion of a pioneering food and drink business park is a step closer today.

The Forum played a key role in planning and developing the first phase of Southglade Food Park in Nottingham which opened in 2005 and was the first business park of its kind in the UK.

It has since managed the on-site Business Centre and services for the park, which is home to six food manufacturers.

Now Nottingham City Council has announced support for Southglade phase 2 by agreeing to pay £1.67 million of the £6 million expansion plan.

The funding approval is a key step in enabling additional finances of £4.254 million to be released from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The plan is to build additional quality food grade industrial units next to the phase one development, which has a waiting list of food and drink manufacturers keen to move in. This would double the size of the food park.

It is expected to create at least 90 jobs in the food and drink sector, as well as jobs during construction.

Food and Drink Forum managing director Fiona Anderson said: “Since opening in 2005, Southglade Food Park has been a great success, and it is excellent news that Southglade phase 2 has support from the city council.

“Expansion of the food park will provide additional high grade manufacturing units for food and drink producers and help to create new job opportunities for the area. We have had a waiting list of firms keen to move onto Southglade for some time, and I am sure they will welcome the news too.

“As the first food and drink business park of its kind in the UK, Southglade has acted as a blueprint for similar schemes across the country and in other parts of the world, such as Malaysia – helping to put Nottingham on the map for its pioneering food and drink sector – and if phase 2 gets the go-ahead it can only strengthen the city’s position as an attractive place for food and drink manufacturers to launch and develop.”

Southglade phase 1 is home to a range of different-sized food grade manufacturing units designed for firms at different stages of development.

The on-site Business Centre includes a new product development kitchen, meeting rooms and other facilities available to tenants and others in the sector.

It is hoped that the enlarged development will create a regionally significant business cluster in the food and drink sector, enabling Nottingham to attract new business and foster growth in the sector to benefit the regional economy.

Councillor Graham Chapman, deputy leader of Nottingham City Council said: “This scheme creates at least 90 local jobs and even more in the construction of the units, helps the manufacturing industry and will bring a financial return for the council of just over £125,000 a year when our ERDF application is approved. It is an excellent deal all around.”

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Issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR