Norfolk is a predominantly rural county which produces 6% of the UK agricultural output with significant percentages of production including 13% of the potato crop, 15% of the pigs, 13% of the soft fruit and 11% of the vegetable crop. Its primary agricultural output is worth £1.2bn per annum.
The impact made by the national food supply chain is significant, but currently our value added production in Norfolk is only £1b per annum. We are exporting this value add to other regions but if we could process more of our farm output in the county we could easily double this in the next few years – it is a real growth opportunity.
The purpose of the Norwich Enterprise Park is to safeguard the future of the sector in the county so that businesses can access modern infrastructure and nurture new opportunities which will add value into the food and drink supply chain.
The vision is now becoming reality. The area to the east of Norwich (to include the Showground, Easton and Otley College and Honingham Thorpe Farms) was designated the Greater Norwich Food Enterprise Zone by Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP when she was Secretary of State at Defra.
The first 46 acres of the designated 100 acre site known as the Food Enterprise Park (FEP) are situated in the Greater Norwich Food Enterprise Zone and benefit from a Local Development Order (LDO) status which encourages and supports food production, processing and agriculture through the colocation of commercial enterprises. This LDO means that planning consents are in place to ensure rapid development of businesses that fit the criteria.
On site works are now underway at the Food Enterprise Park. The first phase of road and service infrastructure including surface and foul drainage are in place, as are mains water and high speed broadband. The Highways work is also now almost complete and electricity connection will be in place by the beginning of October.
Construction of the first processing facility by an occupier is now well underway with Condimentum Limited, a new farming consortium set up by the region’s mustard and mint growers, beginning work on a state of the art 25,000 square foot milling facility. Designed to preserve the region’s links with the historic Colman’s brand, groundworks for the building are now complete and the steel structure of the construction is taking shape.
Situated to the west of Norwich at Honingham, the FEP immediately adjoins the A47, one of the main transport routes in the region, linking Norwich to Kings Lynn and Peterborough to the west, as well as providing easy access to London and Cambridge via the duelled A11 and M11. Road links will be further enhanced following the duelling of the A47 from Easton to North Tuddenham and creation of a direct roundabout access into the site in 2022.
James Alston, a director of Food Enterprise Park, commented “It is fantastic to see the site being opened up for development, and we are thrilled to have secured Condimentum and their milling facility, a use that is perfect for the FEP. We are in discussions with a number of other interested parties and we hope to make further announcements shortly.”
This article is from the autumn 2019 issue of Food for Thought, our newsletter for those working within the food and drink industries.