Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm Wedgwood have revealed a £25 million investment from WWRD, the company behind the firm, in a bid to bring Wedgwood back on its feet.
Wedgwood was first set up by Josiah Wedgwood in 1759, throughout the years it became a well known name in the pottery industry. Due to its growth in 1986 Wedgwood merged with Waterford Crystal forming Waterford Wedgwood which went on to take over Royal Doulton. However in 2009 Wedgwood went into administration and KPS were unveiled as the new owners. The aim of the investment is to help Wedgwood to be back at the forefront of the pottery industry as it once was.
The investment is going towards creating new state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, to expand and upgrade the Wedgwood visitor experience, safeguard 500 existing jobs and create more than 100 new roles. It is hoped it will enable the firm to increase production levels.
Positive feedback from the public has been made regarding the investment from WWRD saying it will keep the legacy of Josiah Wedgwood alive and will bring job opportunities for local people.
A public consultation on the development will happen next month with WWRD aiming to submit a planning application later on in the year. If everything is agreed work will start in May next year and completed by 2014.
WWRD chief financial officer Anthony Jones told local paper The Sentinel: “We’ve made the bold decision to transform the Wedgwood estate.
“We want to create an efficient and sustainable high-quality development that will underpin our ambitious aspirations and the future growth plans for the company.
“By building new, state-of-the-art factory facilities we can continue to develop a strong Wedgwood business in the potteries, and commit to creating and safeguarding a significant number of jobs.”
Ian Donaldson Managing Director of Autonet Insurance commented: “The news of the investment that Wedgwood are set to receive will be a positive boost for Stoke-on-Trent. Not only will it generate job opportunities for people it will also build up the profile of Stoke-on-Trent and bring vital money into the local area.”
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By Amanda Bainbridge