Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.
Published at 01:30 on 24 June 2015
The frozen food retailer is based in Cumbernauld. Picture: courtesy of Bill Henry.
FROZEN food giant Farmfoods is showing both its business confidence and its long-term commitment to Cumbernauld, where its headquarters is based, with a planning application to expand its existing warehouse site.
The retail giant has submitted a planning application to North Lanarkshire Council’s planning department, in Fleming House, seeking permission to expand the firm’s Blairlinn head office and distribution centre.
Located in the Greens Road area of Cumbernauld, Farmfoods have been based in Cumbernauld for thirty-five years, after the firm was founded in Aberdeen, in 1955.
Today, the frozen food giant employs some 3,071 people, with 250 people employed by the retail firm at their Cumbernauld base.
Last year, Farmfoods became the UK’s fastest-growing grocery chain, with research from market analysts Kantar Worldpanel suggesting that Farmfoods’ sales were nearly 44% higher in the 12 weeks to February 2nd, 2014, compared with the same period in 2013.
Due to the continued growth which the retailer has been experiencing over recent years, the firm has lodged a planning application with North Lanarkshire Council, seeking permission to construct a new, larger headquarters and distribution centre.
A spokesperson for Farmfoods confirmed the proposals: “The setup on the current site is no longer suitable to efficiently manage Farmfoods operation in Scotland and this is the main reason for the redevelopment of the larger site within our ownership.
“The proposed redevelopment will ensure Farmfoods operation in Scotland remains in Cumbernauld for the next 35 years, and beyond,” the retailer’s spokesperson added.
Farmfoods’ Cumbernauld site currently services all of the firm’s 104 Scottish stores, providing 250 local people with employment, though the company suggests that further jobs could become available in the future, if the redevelopment plans are given the go ahead.
The company’s spokesperson confirmed: “At present the company employs 250 staff at the site. The proposed development will secure existing employment levels on the site for the next 35 years or more.
“Although employment levels are not expected to change in the short term the investment will support the ongoing growth of the business which, in turn, is expected to support long term employment growth at Blairlinn.
“Farmfoods operate policies that support local businesses and increase employment from the local workforce,” the spokesperson explained.
A planning statement submitted to North Lanarkshire Council’s Cumbernauld-based planning department explains that the current facilities are simply not up to scratch.
“It [the proposals] would provide expanded storage space, a significant increase in loading bays and provide modern purpose built office accommodation to house the administrative functions of the company for the whole of the UK,” the statement explains, before adding: “It would enable the removal of vehicles from the surrounding road network and provide for the efficient operation of the business without adversely affecting neighbouring premises and businesses.”
According to an arbitrary timetable laid out by Farmfoods, the firm suggests that building works could start as early as January 2016, with the new development becoming operational in December 2016, if permission is granted in August this year.
North Lanarkshire Council’s planning department has put a target determination date of October 8th, 2015, against the planning application, which was submitted earlier this month.
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