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Major expansion planned at Kinnerton chocolate factory in Fakenham

PUBLISHED: 12:29 14 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:30 14 March 2014

Kinnerton Fakenham site director Gordon Chetwood.  Picture: Matthew Usher.

Kinnerton Fakenham site director Gordon Chetwood. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2013

A major expansion is planned at the chocolate factory which is Fakenham’s largest employer.

Kinnerton Confectionary Company has applied to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) for planning permission to expand its Oxborough Lane factory by 25,000 square feet.

The company employs 609 permanent staff in the town and up to 300 temporary employees during peak periods.

It plans to close its packaging facility in South Creake and move all 91 South Creake employees to Fakenham.

Gordon Chetwood, site director of Kinnerton, told town councillors this week no jobs would be lost from the changes.

He said the move would help the company to meet future demands and reduce operating costs and he expected it would lead to gradual job creation in the future.

Mr Chetwood said: “Kinnerton has been a major employer in the Fakenham area for many years and we plan to continue to be a major employer here for many years to come.

“To meet future demand we need to grow our manufacturing capacity in Fakenham and there is no space within our current facility to do so.”

Responding to questions from councillors about the number of foreign workers at the Fakenham factory and efforts to recruit local staff, Mr Chetwood said: “We try everybody. We find employees from an agency in King’s Lynn as well as from Fakenham Job Centre and from people who visit us to inquire about jobs.

“We are also working with local schools to ensure young people in the town are equipped with the right skills that we are looking for.

“A lot of it is down to having the right attitude.”

Town councillor Mike Coates said: “Kinnerton has taken the place of the printing works in Fakenham as a major employer in the town.

“There are a lot of local people working there and it is a great business for Fakenham.”

Mr Chetwood said he hoped the building work, earmarked to take place on land which Kinnerton has bought from Fakenham auctioneer James Beck, would start in the summer and be completed by February.

He said the plan was to move out of South Creake by April 2015.

Kinnerton opened its Fakenham factory in 1988 and the South Creake packaging facility was opened in 1992.

Mr Chetwood reported that Kinnerton’s turnover from its Fakenham and South Creake sites last year was £65m.

People can view Kinnerton’s planning application through NNDC’s website, using the planning reference number PF/14/0217.

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