Wiltshire egg supplier Stonegate Farmers Ltd has unwrapped plans for a £10 million investment to boost production at its factory near Lacock.

The company – which supplies eggs to Waitrose as part of a 40-year trading partnership - announced the investment proposals during a visit by Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan.

The company unveiled plans to invest a further £10m to improve its site and has just celebrated taking on its 500th employee as part of an on-going recruitment drive.

The two British businesses have worked together to deliver award-winning animal welfare standards and to give British egg farmers a successful future.

South West Farmer: L-R: Adrian Gott, CEO of Stonegate Farmers Ltd, Michelle Donelan MP and Jake Pickering from Waitrose.L-R: Adrian Gott, CEO of Stonegate Farmers Ltd, Michelle Donelan MP and Jake Pickering from Waitrose. (Image: John Lewis/Waitrose)

Adrian Gott, CEO of Stonegate, said: “We were honoured to welcome Secretary of State and MP for Chippenham, Michelle Donelan, with Waitrose to our head office and production facility in Lacock.

“We’re very proud of our long-standing relationship with Waitrose and this was a fantastic opportunity for us to share the great work that we do.

“Together, we strive to drive the highest welfare standards in the market, support our producers with unprecedented levels of financial support in these tough times, and demonstrate how long-term relationships deliver true value for both parties.

“Stonegate is a business that has rapidly changed and expanded over the last eight years since, over doubling in size, and we have a significant programme of further investment and expansion yet to deliver.

“We were pleased to be able to have a frank and open conversation with Michelle on the challenges facing our business that could stifle our future growth ambition.

“We believe that with her ongoing support we will be able to deliver on our commitment to further enhance our positive impact on the local community.”

Mr Gott bought the Stonegate business in 2016 and has already invested £10m in its growth.

This has included better staff facilities, innovative robotics to grade and pack eggs, additional buildings, solar panels on the roofs, and a new cooked egg division.

The business also invests in its people with a cycle-to-work scheme; free transport to and from Swindon and Chippenham; and apprenticeships and training programmes.

South West Farmer: Michelle Donelan MP with Stonegate Farmers CEO Adrian Gott inspects the company's production facilities.Michelle Donelan MP with Stonegate Farmers CEO Adrian Gott inspects the company's production facilities. (Image: John Lewis/Waitose)

Miss Donelan said: “I was very grateful to Stonegate for hosting me for a visit last week along with Waitrose.

“It is a real pleasure to see a business in the constituency who are investing in the local area, supporting employees and seeing real growth year-on-year without compromising on animal welfare standards.

“I will do my best to support Stonegate and have taken away several comments to share with ministers.”

During her visit, Miss Donelan met Luke Weaver who has been working at the centre for nine years and has progressed from a packing operative direct from school to shift manager leading a 30-strong team.

Stonegate plans to invest £2m in new robotics and have a recruitment drive to help get the skills and resources they need to grow the business even further.

Jake Pickering, Waitrose’s senior manager, agriculture, said: “With over 40 years in partnership, we really value our relationship with Stonegate.

“We share the same principles of fairness to farmers, good lives for hens and high quality, free range British eggs. 

“Our hard work together has long been recognised. For example, we’ve won the ‘Good Egg Award’ from Compassion in World Farming every year since 2008. 

“We’re delighted their business is going from strength to strength and look forward to working with them for decades to come.”