Recruitment drive to begin soon for jobs in vast new tomato greenhouses
PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:56 25 October 2019
Recruitment is due to begin "soon" for management jobs at the two vast tomato greenhouses being built in Norfolk and Suffolk - with hundreds more general staff expected to be hired in spring 2020.
Around 360 new jobs are set to be created as part of the £120m project, which will be capable of producing 12pc of the UK's tomatoes in the two structures, one on the Colman family's Crown Point Estate at Kirby Bedon near Norwich, and the other at Ingham, outside Bury St Edmunds.
Project managers said applicants are already coming forward with employment enquiries for the estimated 210 positions available at the Norfolk site, and 150 in Suffolk.
They will include senior operations roles, production and grower managers, technical, IT, HR and financial managers, packhouse and logistics managers, sales and marketing staff, engineers, administrators, supervisors, skilled crop workers, pickers and packers.
Most will be employed by the specialist growers who will be the operational tenants of the two greenhouses - a Dutch company in Norfolk and a British firm in Suffolk - who have committed to leasing space, but have not yet been named due to commercial confidentiality.
Around two or three people on each site will be involved with the heat and power plant which will transfer waste heat into the growing area from Anglian Water treatment facilities - a "world-first" model aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture.
Following negotiations with landowners at the Crown Point Estate, who said they were determined to ensure local job creation, there are terms in the tenancy agreement that the growers "must use all reasonable endeavours to fill all job vacancies with applicants who are resident within 10 miles of the property".
The project team says this includes, for example, the agreement of an exclusivity period of four weeks during which job opportunities must be advertised only with employment agencies within 10 miles.
READ MORE: Giant tomato greenhouses will signal that our region is ripe for investment
The plans were announced earlier this month by renewable energy investor Greencoat Capital, which said construction is due to be completed in autumn 2020 on the two 7m-high structures, each covering an area larger than the O2 Arena.
The Kirby Bedon development was approved by South Norfolk District Council last November, determined under delegated powers by planning officers.