Successful Devon pet food business stays local with new factory development

An expanding Devon business is relocating to the Okehampton East Business Park to achieve its plans for growth.

Forthglade, the Devon based natural pet food manufacturer established in Winkleigh over 46 years ago, has completed the purchase of two plots at the business park and will be developing a new manufacturing facility at the site.

Devon Contractors Ltd are delighted to have been awarded the contract to construct a new £5.5 million pet food factory for Forthglade Foods in Okehampton.

The project was procured through a 2 stage design and build tender, and Devon Contractors have worked extensively with the project team through the second stage to ensure the scheme is designed to provide ultimate functionality and value for Forthglade Foods, as well as meeting all of their specific requirements for this complex and unique building.

The new factory is needed in order to increase production of its award-winning natural pet food, to boost its exports and fulfill its ambition to become one of the UK’s leading producers of 100% natural pet food. The project is due for completion in the Autumn of 2018 and the move helps to retain Forthglade’s 80 jobs in the local area and create 25 new jobs over the next few years.

Work is now under way at the site at Okehampton East Business Park and is being headed up by Project Manager Jason Willicombe. The purpose built 70,000sqft factory is due for completion in May 2018 and will see Forthgalde Foods moving from their existing site in Winkleigh.

Construction Director Peter Alderson of Devon Contractors said:

‘We are really excited to finally be starting on site for this project which the entire team has worked so hard on over the past months. Having visited the Forthglade site at Winkleigh where the production line is spread over many different buildings, it will be fantastic to provide a facility for them to carry out their entire process under one roof. I’m sure it will greatly improve the efficiency of the business, and everyone involved is very excited about the move. Devon Contractors will be working hard to ensure the project is finished to the highest standard and targeting an early delivery of this exciting project to enable Forthglade access to start transferring their production lines to the new facility.’

Gerard Lovell, Joint MD of Forthglade, said: “We were adamant to keep the business in Devon and the Okehampton site is just ideal for us. The last few years have been a hugely busy time and without this move the business simply couldn’t continue to flourish. The new site will enable us to retain our fantastic team and increase our production capacity of pet food by 50%, whilst having our entire production line under one roof will significantly improve our efficiency”.

Councillor Stuart Barker, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “Forthglade has strong Devon roots and is proud to be a UK manufacturer based in the county. By moving just a few miles from their original HQ, we’ve been able to support the company’s ambition to remain in Devon by having land available which makes sure they can continue to grow here – helping safeguard existing local jobs and creating new full time positions.”

Councillor Kevin Ball, Devon County Councillor for Okehampton Rural, said: “I’m delighted a company the size of Forthglade has chosen to relocate onto the new business park. It means retention of the current Devon jobs but, more importantly, the opportunity for local people to gain employment through the expansion.”

Forthglade’s relocation has been part-funded by a £200,000 grant from the South West Growth Fund – an £8.5 million programme which aims to stimulate capital investment in order to create new jobs in Devon and other counties in the South

West. The grant funding comes from the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) under the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and the programme is managed by Plymouth University and SWMAS Limited in partnership with South West Water.

The purchase by Forthglade follows the recent announcement of the sale of the first plot at the business park to the Okehampton Skills and Sports Trust. Negotiations are continuing on four other plots at the site and two plots will be advertised shortly.

Devon County Council made a £2 million investment to develop the 20-acre employment site, which is located to the east of the town. It is earmarked as the main employment growth area for the town over the next five years, with the potential to support over 300 jobs.

All plots are being sold freehold with each purchaser securing their own detailed planning consent within the plots. For an informal discussion and to register interest, please contact Diane Rider at NPS SW Ltd on 01392 351209 / Diane.Rider@nps.co.uk.

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