A WEST Dorset firm is investing £1 million to help it cope with the ‘extraordinary’ growth of its business.

And West Dorset District Council is pouring in £100,000 to make sure Clipper Teas stays in West Dorset.

The company, which started in 1984, has grown to an international success story employing around 90 people and exporting its blended tea all over the world.

It was taken over by Wessanen in March.

Now the Dutch-listed Eur-opean organic and natural foods company is planning a million-pound upgrade to be able to cope with increasing demand.

And to help persuade the company to stay in Beaminster West Dorset District Council agreed to add £100,000 to the pot.

The council’s economic regeneration manager Ian Doyle said it would have been ‘catastrophic’ if the firm had decided to move.

He said: “As far as we were concerned it was absolutely vital, crucial to Beaminster that we did whatever we could within the rules and our remit to try and find a way to keep a crucial employer in Beamin-ster.

“I think it could have been catastrophic for the area if they left.

“We are looking at something like 80 to 100 jobs. Is it worth spending £100,000 on keeping 100 jobs in Beaminster? I think it is. This is what local authorities should be doing.”

The £1million is being spent on automating some processes to increase efficiency and on improving facilities for staff.

Wessanen UK chief executive Patrick Cairns, CEO said: “This plan is critical for Clipper Teas to continue to be competitive and sustain double digit growth in the UK, as well as realising its ambitions for the brand internationally.”


MP praises company

MP Oliver Letwin said: “Clipper Teas is an amazing company, which started in a front room and is now a shining example of an ethical business that provides excellent tea for people all over this country.

“It also hugely improves conditions of life for people on its plantations in Sri Lanka.

“This is a great, expanding Beaminster business, and I am delighted that West Dorset District Council is helping to keep it firmly anchored here.”