Spalding-based Bridge Farm Nurseries has submitted planning application for a 75-acre site on the A16 as part of the group’s continued expansion plans. The first phase of the development is expected to be completed in 2019 if approval is granted.
Bridge Farm Group, which includes the prominent Neame Lea and Zyon brands within its portfolio, specialises in the growing and production of ornamental plants, flowers and herbs for retailers throughout the UK.
The company’s brands have been recognised by the industry with key awards, with Neame Lea most recently winning Overall UK Grower of the Year at the Grower of the Year Awards 2017.
The group currently operates a 10-acre production facility in Spalding and has invested significantly in recent years in glasshouse infrastructure and biomass heating to become the lowest cost producer in the industry.
The company’s focus on low cost production and operational efficiency through investment in automation and improved work flows has led to rapid sales growth, with key customers, including Tesco and Asda, benefitting from its streamlined supply chain.
This follows a significant investment from NorthEdge Capital in August this year, which saw CEO David Ball lead a management buyout of the overall group. The transaction has provided the capital required for the project to proceed, as well as allowing Bridge Farm to invest further in its highly differentiated market proposition.
The company will continue to employ around 200 full time and 400 seasonal workers, and the group’s plans include further investment in people as the business expands.
The Bridge Farm facility will feature a range of automated handling systems to improve efficiency and enable the business to handle a greater number of orders.
David Ball, Chief Executive of Bridge Farm Group, commented: “Our new site represents another key milestone in the evolution and expansion of Bridge Farm Group.
“With our existing sites now reaching maximum capacity, a new development represents the next logical step. The new facility will feature a range of state-of-the-art machinery and automation, and will also safeguard the jobs of hundreds of staff in and around Spalding and ensure our customers are protected from the cost inflation the industry is seeing.
“We’re working closely with South Holland District Council to finalise our proposals, and we’re hugely appreciative of their support in recognising the importance of the growing industry in Spalding and to the wider Lincolnshire economy.”