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East Anglia vegetable producer 'plans £2m plant'

19 November 2012

According to the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press, Alfred G Pearce (AGP), based in Setchey, is seeking planning permission for a purpose-built vegetable washing and grading facility at Mill Farm in Shouldham Thorpe

The website says that the family-owned firm, which supplies a wide range of prepared vegetables including carrots, parsnips and onions, already runs a processing plant at Wormegay, about a mile-and-a-half away.

''AGP currently outsources the washing and grading of its vegetables to other companies at various sites and a report supporting the application suggests the new facility will improve efficiency by bringing the different aspects closer together,'' the Express says.

The project is expected to create 15 full-time and 10 part-time jobs and director Simon Pearce said it was an exciting time.

“We hope to start building work by spring 2014, if not before,” he added. “We are feeling very positive.”

According to the Express, Pearce said manufacturers increasingly wanted washed, graded and trimmed vegetables and the new plant would help the company to meet these changing customer demands.

If the project goes ahead, the derelict barn and stable buildings already at the Mill Road site will be demolished to make way for the new building.

“The building will be of agricultural style and will include a vegetable washing and grading area with associated office and warehousing facilities,” the report, prepared by Barton Wilmore, states.

Building work is expected to take around six months and the site will also be resurfaced to create a car park with 19 spaces, CCTV cameras, planting and a waste water tank.

Once it is up and running, it is expected to handle about 30,000 tonnes of parsnips and carrots every year.

AGP, based on the Garage Lane Industrial Estate, is a second generation family-owned business run by brothers Simon and Jonathan Pearce.

It was established in 1959 to service the canning industry and is now involved in growing, processing and marketing vegetables for food manufacturers in the UK and throughout Europe, handling more than 70,000 tonnes of products annually.

In September, it was chosen by the Telegraph as one of Britain’s brightest businesses within food and agriculture.

It featured on a list of 1,000 firms with sales of between £5m and £500m which had all shown resilience during the recession.

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