Popular ready meals producer Charlie Bigham’s has bought a disused quarry to build a new production facility, after outgrowing its current London-based space.
The company, which is best known for its upmarket fish pies and lasagne, has bought the former Dulcote Quarry between Wells and Shepton Mallet in Somerset for the new building, which will house kitchens as part of a new campus-style workplace.
The new facility is expected to provide around 300 jobs for the local area over the next 15 years.
Charlie Bigham set up his eponymous food business 20 years ago, and has in recent years been based at Park Royal, in northwest London.
The company is understood to have appointed agents at property consultancy Origin3 to find a new site after outgrowing its current operations. However, it is expected to retain its current facility.
The 20-acre quarry site was owned by property investment company Hansteen Holdings, and had been earmarked as a potential site for commercial development for some time.
The brownfield quarry has already been granted outline planning permission for “employment uses” and was first approved for a business park in 2010. Bigham’s will submit a detailed planning application to the local council in the coming months.
Bigham’s currently supplies its meals to supermarkets such as Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and some Tesco stores, and has seen profits rocket in recent years, in part thanks to the horse meat scandal which has driven consumers to higher quality ready meals.