Plans to expand Bernard Matthews site could create hundreds of new jobs

Bernard Matthews factory and Great Witchingham Hall.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Bernard Matthews factory and Great Witchingham Hall.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A bid to expand the factory of a well-known Norfolk business could create more than 400 new jobs.

The Bernard Matthews application, submitted to Broadland District Council, is seeking to build a new plant room at the company's headquarters at Great Witchingham Hall, while also making safety improvements to the existing buildings.

And the architects preparing the application for the turkey giant say the development would result in the creation 422 new jobs at the plant.

The newly-lodged application states that currently 503 members of staff are employed at the site, a figure proposed to rise to 925 if the bid is approved.

In the project's design and access statement, architects Cox Freeman said: 'The proposed works to which this application relates will result in an increase in staff levels.

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'However, the proposed numbers will remain well below staffing levels employed within the plant in the past.'

The application includes the following changes for the site, which has been home to Bernard Matthews since 1955:

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n A new 163m/sq plant room building

n New access stairs to replace an existing vertical latter

n A new canopy structure linking to the existing building.

The architects added: 'The development is required to update and improve the existing industrial processes to address the decreasing production volumes in recent years and make necessary site improvements.'

A Bernard Matthews spokesman said the application demonstrates that exciting times are ahead for the poultry producers.

A spokesman from Bernard Matthews said: 'We can confirm that we have submitted a planning application and, if approved, there is certainly the potential of the business expanding with a further 400 additional jobs, which would be a major economic boost for East Anglia.

'We very much hope that the planning application is supported.

'It is an exciting time at Bernard Matthews with a number of opportunities for growth and we are very focused on returning the company to a successful and profitable future.'

Broadland District Council will make a decision on the application in due course.

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