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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
Glasshouse boost for salad market
Computer image of one of the greenhouses
The first glasshouses are scheduled for construction in March 2008
A new glasshouse development, boosting home-grown salad produce and bringing 550 new jobs, is to be sited in Kent.

The fresh produce supplier, Fresca Group, which is based in Paddock Wood, plans to build the complex in Thanet.

It will team up with specialist large-scale growers of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the enterprise, called Thanet Earth.

Seven huge greenhouses will be erected at an old cauliflower farm between Birchington and St Nicholas at Wade.

Each one of them will be the size of 10 premiership football pitches and will be computer-controlled.

As a Kent-based company, we're very excited about developing in Thanet
Chris Mack, chairman of Fresca Group

About £80m will be invested in building the 91-hectare site.

Chris Mack, chairman of Fresca Group, said it had taken "a committed team" over two years to turn Thanet Earth into a reality.

"We've worked closely with Thanet Council who have been very keen to attract this level of investment to help secure an agricultural future for the area.

"As a Kent-based company, we're very excited about developing in Thanet."

The first glasshouses are scheduled for construction in March 2008, and the first Thanet Earth crops will hit the shelves during the autumn of that year.


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