Driffield News

Sir Greg opens £6million upgrade at Westland factory

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight visited Westland Horticulture’s site on Kelleythorpe Industrial Estate, where he officially opened £6million of improvements and extensions.

The impressive upgrades at the site have come at a time when the demand for products Westland produces at Kelleythorpe has increased substantially.

The wild bird market has grown 21 per cent since 2019, partly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people spent more time at home and in their gardens.

It’s very good news for the company, good news for Driffield and good news for the employees.

sir greg knight

A recent study showed that 87 per cent of people said that garden activities have had a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

Some of the most popular brands in the bird feed sector are produced at the Driffield factory, including Peckish, Gardman and Bucktons.

Westland’s site on Kelleythorpe Industrial Estate has been operational since 2004 and employs over 100 members of staff, the majority of whom are from Driffield and the surrounding area.

Rachael Dickinson shows Sir Greg some of the products made at Kelleythorpe.

As a result of the investments, upgrades have been made across the site, including:

● The total site area has increased by 120 per cent to 142,000 square feet

● 15,000 new pallet storage spaces

● Four new outbound loading docks

● 15 full-time jobs safeguarded

● New warehouse and distribution office, canteen and amenity block

● Improved raw material and finished good process flow

And, in line with Westland’s sustainability commitments, the upgrades will see 3,100 vehicle shunt trips and 67,000 pallet movements saved every year.

After being given a tour around the extension, Sir Greg told the Wolds Weekly he was impressed with what he saw.

He also said that he would take any concerns Westland had about the challenges facing the horticulture industry back to Westminster.

“I’m very impressed and delighted that this company is investing £6 million in its Driffield base,” he said.

“It’s a sign of confidence in their operation here and I understand from what I have seen that it has increased their area by 120 per cent.

“It’s very good news for the company, good news for Driffield and good news for the employees.

“I want to hear what the concerns are. There is an ongoing debate about what we should do about peat extraction.

“It does release CO2 and there is a strong lobby that says we should phase it out.

“But when you are affecting people’s livelihoods, I think you need to consult and make sure you are doing it the right way and at the right speed.

“The government has had a consultation on this, which has just closed. Subject to what I hear today (29th April), I am happy to go back to ministers and pass on the comments that the team here make to me about what their concerns and worries are.

Sir Greg Knight is welcomed to Westland by James Farnsworth, general manager, Keith Nicholson, marketing director, and Rachael Dickinson, head of category.

“I’m impressed with the sustainability of the company’s packaging and the biggest surprise is the range of products that are here.

“You talk about bird food and you think of a cardboard pack with the food inside. But what an impressive range there is here.”

James Farnsworth, manager of the site at Driffield, added: “This process has been an immensely satisfying journey.

“Increasing our factory area by over 100 per cent will massively increase our productivity.

“We are particularly proud of the steps we have taken to reduce our vehicle emissions and the continual push as a group on leading environmental agenda and grateful to Sir Greg for taking the time to come and see our new site.”

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