Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 14:27 UK

Jobs being created at food depot

Warehouse fire
The food firm reclaimed and re-used materials on the Whirlpool site

A food distribution depot being opened on the site of a warehouse that burned down will create hundreds of jobs.

The £17.6m 3663 First for Foodservice depot has been built in Paddock Wood.

The firm said it was merging its Kent operations, currently in Edenbridge and Sevenoaks, on one site and staff numbers would eventually grow to 350.

It constructed the depot - described as a distribution hub - on the site of the town's former Whirlpool warehouse, which burnt down four years ago.

Out of the 350 jobs, 240 will be moved to the Paddock Wood site from the firm's existing operations in Kent, and an extra 110 posts will be created.

'Substantial investment'

Chief executive Fred Barnes said materials on the Whirlpool site were reclaimed and re-used in the new building.

He said: "Transport and distribution aren't high up on anyone's list of eco-friendly businesses, but we set out more than a decade ago to make this business as green as it could be."

The site has a waste recovery area for organising recycling of cardboard and polythene, recycled water for vehicle washing, natural light sources and solar panels.

Tunbridge Wells councillor Elizabeth Thomas said it was a substantial investment by a multi-national company.

She added: "We welcome it as one of the most significant boosts to the local economy we have seen in recent years."



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