Corkers plan to restore factory to former glory

Corkers Crisps plan to re-build

Corkers Crisps founder Ross Taylor was “shell-shocked, devastated” by the fire in 2020. “My family’s whole heirloom has gone.” Now begins the process of re-building. - Credit: Archant

Sixteen months after a devastating fire, Corkers Crisps has begun the process of re-building its Pymoor factory and restoring the £10m a year turnover company to its former glory.  

The company says its new factory will “significantly improve the use of the site and indeed the surroundings to create a sustainable development.  

“It will help stimulate the economy and create employment.  

An application before East Cambridgeshire District Council, however, faces a tough journey before approval.  

The company says that planners have advised them “it will have to respect the open countryside surroundings”.  

And the council will consider location, volume of parking, traffic movements and design, noting these are factors “which remain vague or unknown at the current stage”. 

One early objection – from a Little Downham resident – has questioned a 256 per cent increase in parking spaces.  

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The objector also questions why growing, cooking and packaging is all required on the same site.  

“Crisps could be processed at any location,” he’s told planners. “The transport of potatoes is fairly easy and potatoes are known to store well.  

“The fields where the potatoes are grown is what is location specific and not related to this application”. 

The objector also fears the impact of a new building that he says is “significantly larger in size, almost twice as large”. 

This, he claims, will “have a significant impact on the landscape and views for a vast amount of surrounding countryside” 

Corkers says that the blaze involved over 60 firefighters and “completely devastated the family run business which employs over 100 people”. 

The firm is outside the defined development envelope for Little Downham and Pymoor and in the open countryside.  

However, the redevelopment will be situated within the same complex as the previous factory. 

Planning consent has previously been approved to extend the premises prior to the fire.  

All of the buildings on site except for one was destroyed or demolished following the fire.   

“The new replacement development would look to maintain the uses on site but to an improved layout,” says Corkers. 

“This will include smart offices at the front of the site to promote the business and be a key focal point near to the parking area” 

Whereas the former layout was somewhat scattered “this new simple but effective layout has a natural ‘goods in’ and ‘goods out’ and allows the production process to flow”.