A HISTORIC food ingredients company which has been in the heart of a village for more than 130 years has lodged ambitious plans to relocate.

EDME, which produces natural wholegrain ingredients and supplies them to bakers and food manufacturers, has had its factory based in Mistley High Street since 1884.

But the company has now submitted plans to Tendring Council to build a new factory four miles away, in Horsley Cross, on land next to the A120.

The 15,350sq metre development would rise up to 21 metres, and a second phase would add about 18,100sq metres.

The current site is 3.5 acres and employs 55 staff, whereas the new space would be ten acres for the factory and parking - as well as more space for business units.

Once vacant, the Mistley factory would be sold on, but the iconic EDME chimney is listed and would be protected.

Mark Hodson, EDME’s managing director, said: “The growing demand for natural wholegrain – and premium gluten-free - ingredients means that we are looking to increase production capacity for EDME.

“It is challenging to do this on our current site.

“We have therefore submitted a planning application to develop production facilities at Horsley Cross, just four miles from Mistley, and still within the borough of Tendring.

“It will take some time for the application to be processed by the planners – no changes to current location and operations are imminent.

“We will keep our neighbours and the local community informed as and when there are any significant updates.”

EDME makes flakes and flours from locally-grown grain as well as products using seeds and pulse which are sold across the country and abroad.

The design and access statement, submitted to Tendring Council’s planning website said: “It is proposed to relocate food processing and storage needs out of the centre of Mistley onto a single site.

“The move is intended to allow the company to successfully expand its business and to keep its products commercially competitive while retaining links with Mistley.”

The planning application is for outline permission of two phases of development.

The first phase is intended to be the construction of EDME’s new site which will be the subject of a future detailed application.

The second is in outline for the balance of the area which has been allocated for future use.

It added: “The EDME requirements have been used to generate realistic operational needs and they consider the safe occupation of the site, operational efficiency, a pleasant working environment and the opportunity to establish a new built identity for the business.”