Heather Mills' Plant-Based Valley Northumberland operation gets Government boost

A Northumberland site focused on plant-based products has been selected for a Government scheme designed to increase inward investment.

By Ben O'Connell
Friday, 23rd October 2020, 1:16 pm
Heather Mills with vegan cakes at the her Plant-Based Valley vegan food production factory event at Seaton Delaval
Heather Mills with vegan cakes at the her Plant-Based Valley vegan food production factory event at Seaton Delaval

Earlier in October 2020, Investment Minister Gerry Grimstone announced the second round of successful bids for the High Potential Opportunities (HPO) programme.

Coordinated by the Department for International Trade (DIT), it selects investment opportunities to promote to foreign investors, seeking to drive investment into the UK’s regions and nations.

Among the 19 new investment projects chosen was Plant-Based Valley, at Seaton Delaval, a 55-acre site offering manufacturing, storage and office space to plant-based businesses.

An aerial view of Heather Mills' Northumberland site.

The former Coty factory was purchased last year by celebrity businesswoman and former model Heather Mills as part of her vegan food enterprise VBites, which also has facilities on the outskirts of Newcastle and at Peterlee.

Cllr Richard Wearmouth, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the economy, said: “Plant-Based Valley has a huge amount of potential and it’s great to see that recognised by the Department for International Trade.

“The plant-based food industry looks set to expand rapidly in the years to come. The industry is key to reducing the carbon footprint of food production and having a hub like Plant-Based Valley here in our county has the potential to put Northumberland at a significant advantage in the years ahead.”

The latest HPOs, including two others from the North East, were selected following bids from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), and DIT’s global network – based in 177 cities around the world – will provide support by showcasing these opportunities internationally and contacting investors to promote the projects.

Heather Mills gives a speech at the new Plant-Based Valley vegan food production factory event at Seaton Delaval in 2019

Guy Currey, director of Invest North East England, which will work with the North East LEP, councils and partners to draw up the HPO documents for potential investors, said: “This is fantastic news for North East England and demonstrates that our sector strengths in ageing, energy and plant-based foods have the potential to drive forward our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by bringing investment into the region.”

Last week, we reported that Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust had expanded its PPE production factory into a new 40,000 sq m space at Plant-Based Valley.

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