Pizza jobs hope

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One of Leyland’s biggest employers is planning an expansion that could create up to 120 new jobs.

Dr Oetker, which makes Chicago Town pizzas, wants to relocate a production line from Germany to its site on Marathon Place, Moss Side.

The global food giant is seeking planning permission to extend its factory on the industrial estate and build new offices, to enable it to take on the extra work.

The new jobs would then be created over three years if production moves to Leyland.

A spokesman for Dr Oetker said: “The Dr Oetker Group is committed to continued investment to maintain its world-class manufacturing facilities, and is presently undertaking a feasibility study to relocate a production line which is currently located within the facilities of a third party manufacturer.

“The Leyland site is the preferred option and, as such, plans have been submitted to the relevant local authorities for approval.

“These are now progressing through the normal planning process.”

Planners at South Ribble Council have recommended councillors approve an application for the two-storey extension, offices and cold storage unit next week.

The Leyland plant is one of the town’s biggest employers, with around 300 staff on its books.

It has been part of the town since 1989, and was formerly owned by Schwan’s Food Company, before Dr Oetker took over in 2008.

Babs Murphy, of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said new jobs would be welcome news.

She said: “The 120 new jobs are certainly fantastic news, and will give a real boost to the local economy.

“It’s also an illustration that even though businesses are facing challenging times, business continues to invest for the future.”

Leyland Central Coun Caleb Tomlinson added: “I think it’s absolutely brilliant in these times someone is expanding and creating new jobs.

“(The extension) should not affect anyone negatively in terms of encroaching on their quality of life.”

Family-owned Dr Oetker started life in Germany in 1891. It introduced the first frozen pizzas to the German market, and went on to become a global brand.

The firm now produces chilled and frozen goods and home baking ingredients.

Three objections have been received from nearby residents concerned about potential noise disturbance and the loss of trees in the redevelopment. The applicant has pointed out the development would take heavy lorries off Longmeanygate, as an access point there would be closed off.

The planning committee meeting will take place at 6pm next Wednesday at the Civic Centre in Leyland.