Firm marks 50-year milestone with new site

FAMILY-RUN farming firm and wholesale butcher J&E Medcalf is celebrating its 50th anniversary by building new premises in West Yorkshire.

The £2m investment, which is supported by a Defra grant, will create a 7,000 sq ft modern building, which will double its capacity and offer easier access than its current base.

The company, which is run by the second and third generation of the Medcalf family, has operated from rented premises in Jagger Green, Halifax, for the last 18 years but the new building, in nearby Holywell Green, will mark a new era for the firm.

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Director Claire Medcalf said: “Our rented premises are old and have very poor access down a country lane. It came to a head a few years ago when we had a very bad winter and the lane was blocked with snow for two or three weeks. We made the decision to buy some land and build a new purpose-built abattoir.”

Leeds-based Celsius Projects was appointed to design and build the new facility which will contain a multi-species abattoir and education room.

The site is expected to be operational by early 2015.

Ms Medcalf said: “We want to improve efficiency as well as continue to provide a traceable and traditional quality product. Animal welfare is very important to us and we want to grow trust and confidence in what we are eating and where it has come from.”

The company, which has a turnover of almost £5m and about 13 staff, farms cattle and supplies Yorkshire butchers and farm shops with its meat as well as providing a service for other local farmers.

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The new building will have an education viewing area for farming and veterinary students and other interested parties such as farmers and meat inspectors.

The design took two years to complete because of the challenging topography of the site. It is expected to take five months to build.

The land had a sewer running through it and there was also a listed viaduct with a high embankment across the northern fringe of the site as well as a stream.

Pete Wright, a director at Celsius, which specialises in projects for the food industry, said: “This has been a really challenging project from a design point of view because it’s an awkward site but we have a reputation for dealing with awkward projects.”

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Ms Medcalf added: “Our new building will make things a whole lot easier for us. We are governed constantly by EU legislation and to have modern, up-to-date premises will make it so much easier for us to adapt to the changes.”