A £120 million expansion of Wren Kitchens’ UK manufacturing operations has been approved by planners.
The 990,000 sq ft development will be the company’s largest single investment, and has been described as a major boost to the UK economy, bringing a wealth of multi-skilled job opportunities.
A total of 535 jobs have been outlined initially, with the company confident it will ramp up to 1,200 as capacity builds.
It will be located on the sprawling headquarters site at Barton, on the South Bank of the River Humber.
Wren’s managing director, Mark Pullan, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the huge amount of support we’ve received from the community and the council for this new manufacturing facility. Over 200 people attended our drop-in session providing us with great feedback what we were able to incorporate into our plans.
“Since we set up our headquarters in Barton in 2013 we have been welcomed by the local community and we have developed strong ties with local community groups, sports teams, charities and schools.”
From opening its first showroom 10 years ago, Wren has grown to become the UK’s largest kitchen retailer with 83 outlets nationwide, and a further five opening this year.
The company said it requires the new facility to keep up with demand driven by future expansion. Plans were revealed earlier this year.
At the time Mr Pullan said: “This project will be the largest single investment in Wren’s history and having considered different locations both across the UK and abroad, we believe that developing the existing site in Barton provides us with the best solution.
“The new factory demonstrates our commitment to manufacturing in the UK and particularly the Humber region. We believe that continual re-investment in our business is essential to maintaining our current growth rate and subject to receiving planning approval, the project will be funded internally.”
Launched in East Yorkshire by Hygena founder Malcolm Healey, now chairman, it moved the HQ across the river in 2013, taking over the site from US nappy manufacture Kimberly-Clark. It had also established manufacturing in Scunthorpe, to complement the original Howden facilities.
Contractor Buckingham Group has been appointed to deliver the huge scheme, with work to start on the 18-month project before the year is out. A total of 360 jobs will be created at peak construction.
Stowe headquartered, with an office in Doncaster, Buckingham has brought forward Liverpool’s Lime Street Station, the Handball Arena for London 2012 Olympics and Brighton and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ football stadiums, as well as several huge distribution and manufacturing builds for blue-chip clients.
Chairman of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, Lord Chris Haskins, said: “This development is a fantastic vote of confidence for our region’s economy and for the local community.
“Wren is emerging into a major success story locally and nationally and this new multi-million-pound manufacturing site will be at the heart of their growing success; the investment proves that Humber has unrivalled connectivity, which has supported their strategic plans to rapidly grow into a world class business.”
The new development will be part of the landscaped Wren Kitchens campus which includes a state-of-the-art gym, three subsidised restaurants, outdoor dining area with roof garden and a scenic 1.2km lake side walk.
Jobs will not only focus on manufacturing, but also IT development, engineering, customer service and product development.
North Lincolnshire Council leader Rob Waltham said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Wren and support their growth here in North Lincolnshire.
“Wren’s expansion in Barton will provide a major boost to our local economy and bring more, highly skilled jobs to our employment market. Such a large private investment is a real vote of confidence in North Lincolnshire, and can often act as a catalyst for further investment elsewhere in our area.
“This planning permission is just the start and I look forward to continuing to work with Wren to help expand their workforce and find the right skills they need to support growth.”
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