Planning permission has been secured by Oakland International to increase their existing cold pallet storage facility at Redditch via a £1.2m investment which will extend their existing frozen food storage capacity by 2,000 pallets and construct a 26 pallet blast freezer by September 2014. Oakland International MD, Dean Attwell, stated: “Our expansion plans are substantial considering the current size of our frozen business. We have a clear focus to deliver strong organic growth with our existing clients and really focus on our customer service while keeping close to our retailers. The demand for increased capacity has been driven by our focus on providing additional tempering contracts and the rapid growth of our retail platform models. “In addition to expanding our cold store we have now put in a planning application for a new 60,0000 sq. ft. of extra ambient and chilled storage with construction planned to take place during 2015, creating between 60 and 90 more jobs over the next 18 months to support our retail, discount and convenience sector activity.” Working with around 200 suppliers to deliver product into the multiples, discount and convenience sectors, Oakland added a further 15,000 sq. ft. of chilled space to handle the Christmas rush and first quarter activity of 2014. Alongside this they also invested heavily in co-packing lines, adding five more packing lines to support their Christmas party food tempering and coding operation; a total investment of £200K. “The growth of our business throughout the economic downturn was a deliberate risk strategy intended to support our customers by extending service offer through increased destinations, whilst driving efficiency through critical mass, enabling Oakland to hold our prices. Alongside this we have also been undertaking significant investment in energy efficient chillers, LED lighting and solar PV panels, with over 300kva solar power generation now in operation on our roof in an engaged drive to retain control of energy costs.” added Dean. “The new cold store will feature the most energy efficient construction materials, lighting and equipment and will add a further 350kw of solar capacity through roof-mounted solar panels.” Oakland’s latest development follows a £2.6m investment made over the last two years to increase their ambient and chilled capacity by an additional 50,000 sq. ft. and in the last three years the company’s workforce from 110 people to their current level of over 210 people in the UK and Ireland.