12:01pm Saturday 25th January 2014
SMALL food and drink producers could benefit from a food business park in the future.
Last Thursday (January 16), Pembrokeshire County Council’s economy overview and scrutiny committee heard proposals for a food park at Withybush Industial estate.
BE Group director Vince Sandwell presented members with the findings of a feasibility study undertaken on behalf of the council.
More than 180 businesses were asked about their travel patterns, market, business constraints, current premises and future requirements.
Withybush was considered the best location due to its size, infrastructure links and the land available for development.
Blackbridge, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire Science and Technology Park, and Trecwn were also considered as potential sites.
Mr Sandwell outlined proposals for a two-phased development comprising of 150 to 300 sqm industrial units, including 2,000 sqm plots at Withybush Business Park and 4,000 sqm plots at Withybush east.
A 400 sqm retail space to showcase products was also proposed, alongside renewable energy in the form of a bio digester and solar panels.
Support would also be provided concerning transport and supply chains with input from consumer businesses.
“We believe there is a demand and this can be feasible,” said Mr Sandwell, adding that a private sector “lead” would be needed. Puffin Produce Ltd has expressed an interest in getting involved, members heard.
Mr Sandwell added: “This is about supporting businesses, helping companies in the county who are struggling to get to market and supermarkets, giving them the help to get them where they need to go.”
The council’s director of development Dr Steven Jones added: “The opportunity of co-locating to share overheads underpins this idea.”
Committee chairman Keith Lewis; “I think that unless a facility like this is available in Pembrokeshire many of the small producers will just not grow.
“They will literally die on the vine because their facilities are not of a standard which is acceptable.”
He added: “I think the message is perfectly clear - that we at least support this in principle.”
The council is to look at submitting a funding bid over the next six to nine months
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