The owners of the north-east’s biggest mart have unveiled multimillion pound plans to extend a business park and create hundreds of jobs.
ANM Group last night said their proposals showed their “commitment” to Thainstone, near Inverurie.
The firm’s vision for the £4million expansion of Thainstone Business Park includes new office buildings, and would create up to 500 jobs.
Group chairman Pat Machray said the proposals were the “next natural step” for the site.
He added: “We have been a major employer and contributor to the north-east economy for more than 140 years, and as a farmer-owned co-operative, we continually strive to improve the business to provide the best service for our 5,000 members and 20,000 customers.
“This £4million investment further demonstrates our commitment to Thainstone, which has and always will be a key hub for the north-east agricultural community.”
The news was welcomed by Inverurie Business Association, who said the proposed development would help to keep the town “thriving”.
Chairwoman Ashley Wilson said: “Obviously it’s a positive announcement and we wholeheartedly support it, we’re delighted.
“It’s great for Inverurie and will help put us on the map.
“One of the most important things is to keep supporting local businesses as much as possible.
“In the town we’ve got so much development in the pipeline – we’re 20 minutes away from the city so we want to continue this to keep attracting people who are moving to the area and looking to set up home here.”
The developers have pledged to use local firms when it comes to putting the necessary infrastructure in place, such as roads, drainage, power lines, heating and gas.
In addition to construction jobs, ANM has also guaranteed the development will have long-term employment benefits for the local area.
They hope the proposals will inject much-needed cash into the region at a time when the oil and gas downturn has left many local businesses in a precarious position.
Mr Machray added: “The proposed expansion of Thainstone Business Park has been in our plans for a number of years and is the next natural step for the site. In 2012, the local area plan allocated this land for development, and we are thrilled to see it finally beginning to take shape.
“We are proud of our strong history at Thainstone, and it is vitally important to us that we do not to jeopardise the legacy we have created in any way.
“We want to be a good neighbour, and we are taking steps to ensure that the new business park will be extended sympathetically in line with the current landscape by working collaboratively with our current tenants, the local community, and relevant authorities.
“Change can often be met with apprehension, but knowing we have the continued interests of the community at heart, we hope everyone will share our enthusiasm for this new chapter in our history.”
If the proposals are approved, work is due to commence later this year with the first building due for completion in early 2018.