Dairy Crest have applied for a creamery expansion to the tune of £75 million. The planning permission will allow them to increase the size of their Davidstow site in north Cornwall, which could raise capacity at the facility by as much as 40%.
Largest UK creamery
The creamery is already reported to be the largest facility of its kind in the UK. It contributes around £200 million a year to the local economy, and currently produces 54,000t of cheddar. This increase would bring that production figure to 77,000t, allowing the growth both at home and overseas of their leading cheese brand, Cathedral City.
The work to go on at the creamery would include installing, replacing, and improving some of the equipment on the site. The bulk of the expansion would then go towards upgrading the existing wastewater treatment plant, allowing for more capacity to run through it and thus bring more production capability.
“This project represents a major investment by Dairy Crest that will boost capacity, help with the long-term security of the 200 jobs on-site, reduce our environmental impact and create new opportunities for milk suppliers across the region,” said Davidstow site director Dylan Ellis. “We are already talking to our existing farmers in Cornwall and Devon about increasing their production and we are also looking to expand our milk pool into Somerset. We hope that will give farmers the confidence to invest, knowing that there is a market for their milk.”
It’s true that the on-site jobs will be preserved – but there are also likely to be more opportunities for job seekers at the local farms, too. You can see available positions by viewing our job listings here.
Water plant upgrades
The upgrades which are proposed for the water treatment plant would allow the company recycle all of the water which is used at the site. This would mean that it was no longer reliant on South West Water, as well as having less of an impact on the water levels of the surrounding area.
This would also mean that odour issues caused by the production would be addressed, so that the impact on their neighbours will be reduced – surely music to the ears of anyone living in the nearby area.
Dairy Crest are one of the major forces in the local economy, it is certainly fair to say. They spend around £150 million each year on the 500 million litres of milk that they source from a total of 330 dairy farmers in the south west area. If this expansion does go ahead, they will be looking for an additional 200 million litres of milk. That will represent a boon of £60 million more going to farmers in the West Country.
Solar energy developer Lightsource BP has also planned a second application which will be parallel to that of Dairy Crest. Their idea is to install a solar park next to the creamery, in order to generate an estimated 10% of the site’s annual electricity needs. Again, this would reduce reliance on local providers and could well be beneficial to allowing more power in the surrounding area. There could be more opportunities for jobs should they need extra crews in order to help with installation. We will showcase any available jobs on this site should you wish to apply for them as and when they are announced.
Cornwall Council will be making a decision on both applications later this year, after they have gone through the formal application process. If all goes well, work will then be able to go ahead on the new project.