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Chocolate factory plan will create 42 jobs in Ramsbottom
EAST Lancashire’s own Willy Wonka has unveiled his plan to open the first chocolate factory of its kind in England.
Paul Morris, who owns the Chocolate Cafe in Ramsbottom with his partner Emma, plans to build a £400,000 artisan factory and visitor centre.
Although the location is yet to be finalised, it is thought the site, which could be by open next autumn, is an ‘entirely unique concept’ which will allow visitors to see chocolates hand-crafted from start to finish.
Only the Chocolate Factory in Swansea, South Wales offers a similar factory tour, while Cadbury World only offers a glimpse into the packaging plant where chocolate is wrapped.
Visitors will experience the sights, sounds and smells from the Colombian rainforest to the Pennines before seeing chocolate-making process.
They will then be given the chance concoct their own creations.
Mr Morris, whose business won two gold stars at the Great Taste Awards, said the centre would create 42 jobs, in addition to the existing 17 staff.
He said it was the essential next step to keep up with national and international demand for his chocolates.
Mr Morris, who thought up the idea for the shop in 2008 while working in the French Riviera, said: “We hope it will be a Willy Wonka-style attraction that will draw people from all over the country who have a passion for chocolate.
“We think it is unique in the UK with the closest site being Cadbury World which is more of an attraction than a working factory.
“It will allow us to massively increase production and introduce new flavours using cocoa beans never tried before in the UK.
“It’s also important that people an come and learn about where our chocolate comes from, the people who produce it and the ethics of using fairly traded and organic products.
“We’ve got all the finances in place, so as soon as we can close a deal on the site, we will start work to make the dream a reality.”
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