Tayside and Central Scotland

Family dairy firm plans £20m new Stirling facility

Dairy image 2 Image copyright Grahams
Image caption The new £20m facility could create hundreds of new jobs and 50 apprenticeships

A Scottish family dairy firm plans to build a £20m new facility in Stirling, creating 450 new jobs.

Graham's The Family Dairy has revealed plans to build a new dairy, research and training facility at Craigforth.

The 150,000 sq ft facility would include production lines for milk, cream, cheese and butter as well as a research centre for developing new products.

The Graham family has been farming in Stirlingshire for five generations.

It currently operates a dairy at Airthrey Kerse in Bridge of Allan, a processing plant in Nairn and depots throughout Scotland.

The firm, which had a turnover of £85m in 2014, hopes to finance the new facility via a development of 600 houses, community amenities and a primary school on their land at Airthrey Kerse, which drew some local opposition and is currently awaiting planning permission from the council.

The new centre would see 400 new jobs across sectors including processing, research, design, logistics, marketing, administration and management, as well as creating 50 apprenticeships locally.

It could produce 350 million litres of milk every year, with the fast-expanding firm already churning out more than 700,000 pints a day. The dairy at Airthrey Kerse would remain open, concentrating on producing butter and ice cream as well as acting as the Grahams' family home.

Image copyright Graham's The Family Dairy
Image caption Graham's already produces more than 700,000 pints of milk a day

Robert Graham, managing director of the dairy and grandson of its founder, said there was "so much potential" in the Scottish dairy industry.

He said: "Investing in Stirling runs through my family's history and our business. That is why we want to build the new dairy processing, research and training centre in Stirling.

"Stirling is our home. It is where we farm, live and, from our dairy at Airthrey Kerse, employ more than 500 people throughout Scotland.

"Stirling has the key attributes a business needs; a high quality education system, accessibility, dynamic business culture, an outstanding environment and an ambitious and inspiring city economic strategy.

"Our research forecasts that by combining a new, modern dairy processing facility with a research and training centre that has strong links into the local education system and a proactive local recruitment policy, Graham's can significantly strengthen the Stirling economy and place the city at the forefront of the Scottish food and drink sector."

Image copyright Grahams
Image caption Plans for the new facility will be submitted to Stirling Council in June

Scottish government rural affairs, food and environment secretary Richard Lochhead said the dairy plan was "fantastic news" both for the industry and the local economy.

He said: "This is a real vote of confidence in the future of the Scottish dairy sector and I've no doubt this exciting project will help Graham's the family dairy cement their reputation as one of our leading dairy companies and brands.

"I particularly welcome the development of new research and development facilities which will put Scotland at the forefront of developing innovative new dairy products and in the right place to respond to changes in consumer behaviour."

A planning application for the new dairy will be lodged with Stirling Council in June 2015, following a public consultation.

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