Len Wright Salads, Tarleton, Lancashire

Client: Len Wright Salads
Location: Tarleton, Lancashire
Project size: One unit; 32,550 sq ft
Project value: £4million
Sector: Commercial, agriculture, office

As the convenience food market continues to grow, traditional food manufacturers have had to update their usual operations to ensure they’re supplying produce in-line with changing consumer needs, so they can benefit from this booming industry.

Tarleton-based Len Wright Salads has been producing market-ready salad crops across its 2,500 acres of outdoor space since the 1960s, harvesting Celery, Gems, Curly & Round Lettuce, Iceberg, Romaine, Continental & Chinese Leaves, Spinach & other Baby Leaves, alongside packed mixes of Baby Leaves and wide ranges of speciality Tomatoes and Peppers.

Turning over £45million, it has long provided leading supermarkets with its produce but following a specific order from ASDA, needed a specialist food processing factory developing on site.

Rather than providing loose leaves and vegetables, ASDA appointed Len Wright Salads to begin producing its bagged and bowled salads to tap into the convenience salad trend that was growing in popularity amongst shoppers. It would require the development of a bespoke, high care factory which would also require office space, changing rooms, communal spaces and catering facilities to accommodate the Len Wright Salads team.

Simon Tickle, estimator at Wareing Buildings, said: “This project was a long time in the making and eventually came to be our largest development to date. The development site was based on Grade A, Class One agricultural land which is subject to certain building regulations. As such, several meetings with the local authority and planning officers were required before we achieved the go ahead. Once that was gained, the true challenges we would be faced with came to light.”

The site consisted of significant peat band, to a depth of approximately 12 meters, which instantly meant that standard shallow spread foundations would not be viable. Instead Wareing turned to an alternative piled foundation design which incorporated over 1000 reinforced concrete piles – a significant foundation to lay, but a must to deliver a lasting, quality build.

Due to the very poor nature of the ground conditions on the site Wareing excavated the top 800mm of ground using specialist excavators to allow a 500mm thick geogrid working platform to be installed. This working platform provided a suitable surface for the pilling works to commence and to support all construction site traffic.

Additionally, to cater for the high spec nature of the food processing plant, Wareing Buildings was required to introduce an attenuation pond, as well as two loading and docking bays, a large scale refrigeration facility and resin floor screed.

Over the course of 12 months, we worked in partnership with other contractors to complete the scheme to budget, timescales and specification. As a result, Len Wright Salads has a future-proofed facility which will enable it to remain a key player in the food manufacturing market, even as modern trends continue to change.

Colin Charlesworth, finance director at Len Wright Salads, said: “There aren’t enough superlatives to describe Wareing Buildings. They pay extreme attention to detail, are customer focused, always readily available and are everything you would hope for in a partner for a development like this.

“They weren’t phased by the complexities of the build and shared our vision with us, and remained in regular contact at every step of the development. The future looks promising – we may need to look at expanding our facility further, and we won’t be looking for any other developer. We know Wareing will be the team to make the dream happen.”