Sunday, 29 November 2015

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Work begins on £20m upgrade of Cumbrian factory

Work on a £20m factory upgrade has started – with another £20m development poised to follow fast on its heels.

Innovia Films, based in Wigton, is installing a gas turbine on its site, with construction work visible from across the town.

It is expected that the investment will boost the factory’s output of polypropylene film by 10 per cent. The company produces 120,000 tonnes of the material from three factories worldwide with the Wigton factory by far the largest.

On Tuesday councillors will make a decision on plans for a new factory at the site which will construct the base material for the Bank of England’s first polymer bank notes.

If Allerdale Council’s development control panel agrees to back the proposals it will create 80 skilled, full-time jobs. Planning officers are recommending that councillors grant permission for the scheme.

Wigton mayor Joe Cowell supports the project, saying that Innovia Films is a vital part of Wigton.

He said: “I think it’s brilliant. It’s not just for the town, it’s for the whole area and throughout Cumbria.

“I’m extremely happy that it’s based in Wigton and I think we would be struggling without it now.”

The “bubble” development, which is currently taking shape, will help the company meet increased demand for film, and it is scheduled to begin production in 2015.

The new factory would be built beside the existing polymer film production site at Innovia Films. The company says it will enable it to link into its existing production line and use existing and technical skills of employees.

Mr Cowell said that the company’s desire to invest was a huge boost for the town. He said: “If the factory disappeared for any reason I think Wigton would have problems, but it has just had a new financial deal so there’s security for the foreseeable future.

“Wigton’s started picking up and with the second market opening it’s a boost for the town as a whole.”

If granted planning permission, the new two-storey building would be up to 12m high, about 65m wide and up to 110m long.

A report to councillors states that the surrounding perimeter wall will need to be robust and “able to withstand the possibility of attack”, due to security requirements.

Dr Jaime Pacreu, director of technical services for Innovia Security, said: “As it is already known, Innovia Security has submitted its application with Allerdale Council for the new plant in Wigton.

“We will be delighted if the planning application is approved on July 1, and look forward to working with the council and residents of the region to bring this project to life.”


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