An initiative to create a new business park to strengthen Scotland's diverse and world-renowned food and drink sector has hit a key milestone with the announcement that the site is open for occupation.
Perth Food and Drink Park - representing a £5m investment by Perth and Kinross Council - provides up to 11 serviced development plots across a 16 acre high quality and easily accessible site at North Muirton, to the north of the city.
The site has been specifically designed to create a hub for the all aspects of the food and drink industry in Scotland to thrive, and is being seen as having particular appeal to the food packaging and bottling sector.
The Park is aimed at attracting inward investment opportunities as well as creating expansion potential for existing and start-up businesses.
It is predicted the Perth Food and Drink Park – the first dedicated hub of its kind in Scotland - could sustain up to 400 jobs once fully occupied.
Food and drink is one of Scotland's key growth sectors with ambitions to grow from £13.1Bn today to £16.5Bn by 2017. Within Perth and Kinross, the annual turnover of the food and drink sector is estimated at £280m and there are an estimated 130 companies in the processing sector.
Councillor John Kellas, Convener of Enterprise and Infrastructure Committee at Perth and Kinross Council, said the Park offers a unique opportunity for businesses in the food and drink sector to occupy a fully-flexible, bespoke site to develop or expand their operations, in one of Scotland's most attractive locations.
He said: "Perthshire has unrivalled heritage and credentials in food and drink, evidenced by the likes of its superb beef, lamb and venison, its soft fruit industry and world-famous whisky distillers, as well as a range of artisan and specialist producers.
"We are passionate about continuing to see the food and drink industry in both Perthshire, and Scotland, thrive.
"We have identified food and drink as an area of outstanding growth and have committed substantial investment into helping businesses in this sector through the creation of Perth Food and Drink Park.
"With Perth Food and Drink Park now 'open for business', it's an unparalleled opportunity for companies to take advantage of creating purpose-built premises while enjoying the benefits of shared business infrastructure and support facilities.
"The Perth Food and Drink Park demonstrates the clear intent to position Perth as the most desirable place to live, work, visit and invest."
Perth Food and Drink Park offers serviced development plots ranging in size from one acre to three acres – however, there is scope for units to be combined in larger premises - with each site providing medium pressure, HV electricity, superfast broadband, telecoms, water and drainage. Financial incentives are available subject to eligibility.
The Perth Food and Drink Park is located strategically close to the A9 trunk road, with good links to Perth city centre and train station, and only a 45 minute drive from Edinburgh International Airport. With its central location and excellent access, a million people live within an hour's drive of Perth.
The new Park is in an established business location at North Muirton yet has an attractive semi-rural setting bounded to the north by productive arable land and to the east by the banks of the River Tay which is famed for its salmon fishing.
The marketing for the Perth Food and Drink Park is managed by Perth and Kinross's global inward investment campaign Invest in Perth, alongside the council's business development and investment team.
A comprehensive marketing programme – supported by marketing agents GVA James Barr - is being planned to promote Perth Food and Drink Park nationally and globally, including through the Scottish Cities Alliance and attendance at key industry events and exhibitions.