A new milk-bottling plant at a food park in Haverfordwest will create 80 jobs over the next three years as part of a £17m investment following a land deal. Pembrokeshire Creamery has acquired a plot at Pembrokeshire Food Park from the Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire County Council for the development of a new 3,000 sq m milk-processing facility.
The development plot was sold to the company, incorporated in 2021, on a long-term ground lease for a premium payment of £718,000.
The plant, which will occupy over ten acres of the food park, is currently under construction and expected to be operational by Q4 2023. The £17m investment is being partly-funded by a £5m grant from the Welsh Government’s Food Business Investment Support (FBIS) alongside funding from HSBC and shareholders Puffin Produce. The original cost to the project was around £12.5m, but the company has seen costs inflate rapidly in the last year.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government is doing all we can to help create quality jobs for people within their own communities. Agriculture, food and drink are sectors that make a significant contribution to Pembrokeshire’s local economy, and we are determined to help new and existing businesses in these sectors to grow and thrive. We have been working closely with Pembrokeshire County Council to make land available for development at Pembrokeshire Food Park to allow us to realise that ambition.
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“So, I am very pleased we have secured this significant investment, which will create 80 new jobs locally over the next three years. This will be a real boost for the regional economy.”
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “I am very pleased the Welsh Government is supporting this exciting new project in Pembrokeshire. We are committed to supporting Welsh farmers as well as our food and drink sector and the investment in Pembrokeshire Food Park is another great example of how we are doing this.
“Today’s news will see retailers supplied with milk from local farms, bottled in Withybush, creating a long-term and sustainable supply chain for Welsh consumers. Pembrokeshire produces fantastic food and drink products, and I look forward to seeing this continue into the future.”
The Pembrokeshire Food Park in Withybush, near Haverfordwest was established in 2021, following a £2m investment by the Welsh Government. Pembrokeshire County Council was also awarded £1m from the European Regional Development Funding, through the Welsh Government, for the delivery of the first phase of infrastructure works at the food park.
Cllr Paul Miller, Deputy Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Place, the Region and Climate Change, said: “As a local authority, we are delighted to welcome the £17m investment by Pembrokeshire Creamery Ltd. This is a fantastic opportunity for local dairy farmers, and we are very proud to have supported the successful development of the venture. It’s also excellent news for the local jobs market, with 80 new jobs being created at Pembrokeshire Food Park.”
He added: “We have been very pleased to work closely with Welsh Government on this agreement. Our county is well known for its high-quality produce and our work with our Welsh Government colleagues on the development of the Food Park is a tangible and significant step towards realising our long-standing aim of retaining more of the added value from local food production.”
Pembrokeshire Creamery managing director Mark McQuade said: “Pembrokeshire Creamery Limited are grateful to the Welsh Government for their support with this investment, which will deliver significant jobs and growth to the local economy. The new site will be the only BRC Certified facility to offer Welsh milk that is also bottled in Wales, and as such, the Creamery will shorten the supply chain in Wales. Pembrokeshire is a fantastic milk field in which to build an authentically Welsh milk supply for Welsh supermarket stores”.
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The Farmers’ Union of Wales has also welcomed the investment to develop the new facility. FUW policy officer Elin Jenkins said: “The success of this investment is pivotal to the success of the dairy farming sector in south west Wales. We are therefore delighted to see further investment in the Welsh dairy sector through such an ambitious new project which will see milk supplied and bottled in Wales being available to consumers.
“This investment comes against a backdrop of scores of dairy family farms dispersing their herds due to the difficulty of attempting to run a viable and successful business whilst being under constant threat from Bovine TB, the uncertainty of the future Sustainable Farming Scheme and the severe impact and costs of the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations.
“Welsh dairy farms continue to produce high quality dairy products under challenging circumstances and this welcome investment should not only create employment within the local community but should also shorten the supply chain and provide new opportunities for local dairy producers.”
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