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Work begins on new Wedgwood factory

Words: Sam Waddicor

Work has begun on a £34m regeneration of pottery icon Wedgwood’s company base in Barlaston, Staffordshire.

Managers say the redevelopment of the 281-acre (114 hectare) site, supported by £5.1 million from the Regional Growth Fund, will create more than 100 jobs and protect 400 existing ones.

The development is a partnership between the Wedgwood Museum Waterford-Wedgwood-Royal Doulton (WWRD), the organisation that owns Wedgwood. Plans are for new manufacturing facilities and offices at the factory and a visitors' centre for the museum. There are also plans for 209 new houses to be constructed, in a premium development, by David Wilson Homes.

As well as providing an additional 102 jobs, WWRD says the new facilities will increase production by 20 per cent and the new visitors' centre will increase the number of visitors nearly three-fold to 175,000 each year. WWRD expects to move into its new facilities in early 2015 and the visitor experience will be fully open by Easter.

Executive vice-president and chief financial officer of WWRD, Anthony Jones, said: "At Wedgwood, we are investing heavily in Staffordshire as part of our commitment to UK manufacturing and contributing to economic prosperity for Staffordshire,"

"The new and expanded visitor centre will offer a leading-edge blend of experiential and retail, fully integrated with the Wedgwood Museum, which will bring the world of Wedgwood to life in an inspirational and truly memorable way”.