'˜Pienormous' growth planned for Higgidy

A premium pie manufacturer's expanded premises will create 150 jobs over the next five years.

Higgidy owner James Foottit, left, with former business minister Michael Fallon when he visited the firm
Higgidy owner James Foottit, left, with former business minister Michael Fallon when he visited the firm

Higgidy started in a Shoreham kitchen in 2003 and now employs 280 people at its base in Dolphin Road, Shoreham.

But a major food contract, requiring it to double annual output by 2018 – and the firm nearing capacity – prompted growth plans, which were approved by Adur District Council on Monday.

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Owner James Foottit said: “We think we are about one year away from capacity, which is £30million turnover.

“We have been having to face up to the fact that land is very scarce in Sussex. An opportunity came up by approaching the owners of the site next door.

“We really want to play our part in the community and desperately didn’t want to move from Shoreham but that was looking like a very real possibility.”

Higgidy intends to build on the current Westbourne Motors site, adjacent to its current buildings at the eastern end of Dolphin Road.

The existing workshop will be demolished and a new factory constructed, providing around 2,450 square metres of industrial space and 1,000 square metres of offices.

Mr Foottit, who founded the firm alongside his wife, Camilla, said they were looking to expand into the ‘food to go’ market.

This would expand on its current presence in supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, into places like coffee shops.

And despite being on course to turnover £25million this year, Mr Foottit said they were not complacent.

He said: “We are very conscious that we are still risking a lot and we don’t feel safe, even though we have developed some great products and are very proud of our great brand.”

The application was unanimously approved and welcomed by the committee.

Councillor Carol Albury said: “What a huge success story this has been and I just think this is something that has been tremendous.”

Councillor Geoff Patmore questioned whether solar panels could be installed on the new building to make it energy efficient. Council officers said they would discuss the matter with the applicant.

Mr Patmore added: “I am all for the application and they are lovely pies.”

According to the council report, Higgidy is the fastest-growing premium pie brand in the UK.