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Fred Searle

BY FRED SEARLE

Experienced grower joins glasshouse firm CambridgeHOK

Alan Frampton will lead sales team in south of England as glasshouse construction firm enjoys significant growth

Experienced grower joins glasshouse firm CambridgeHOK

CambridgeHOK's six-hectare glasshouse for Beeswax Dyson

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Horticultural engineering, glasshouse and energy specialist CambridgeHOK has appointed experienced commercial grower Alan Frampton to lead the firm’s sales in the south of England.

The company, which despite its name is based in East Yorkshire, is a specialist in planning, designing and building commercial glasshouses and indoor and vertical farms. It also offers expertise and consultancy in efficient energy solutions and systems.

Its team offers consultancy to investors and growers, supporting clients through the entire process until sophisticated growing facilities – many using fully automated climate control and irrigation systems – are established and operational.

Frampton joins CambridgeHOK with decades of experience in the growing sector, having established what was to become the UK's leading flower growing operation, Donaldsons Flowers, in 1987, and helping to maintain its market-leading position for more than 20 years.

In that time, from a 70,000-metre square high-tech glasshouse, the business supplied all leading UK supermarkets, including becoming the biggest English flower supplier to Sainsburys.

Patrick Harte, head of commercial at CambridgeHOK, said the appointment comes at an exciting time for the business, which is experiencing significant growth in a number of work areas. The company is on course for its best ever financial year, and is now keen to strengthen its position in the south of England.

“We are delighted to have brought somebody with Alan’s experience, success, contacts and understanding of the industry to our business. He has impressed us with his enthusiasm for the role and we know he is going to be a fantastic addition to the team as he brings a wealth of knowledge,” Harte said.

“Alan has excellent contacts and relationships within the industry and that can only help us building our sales and marketing presence. He will work closely with myself to develop a strategic relationship in the south of the country to further enhance our reach across the country.”

Frampton said he is excited to be joining CambridgeHOK and says he feels the business is “in the right space at the right time”.

“When people are investing so much into growing facilities they need to know that the technical side is going to be of the highest quality, and that it will be as energy efficient as possible,” he added. “That is what CambridgeHOK can offer and that is a message I am looking forward to taking to potential clients.

“Energy production will be a big focus moving forward as only by bringing cost production down and through systems such as CHP, LED lighting and turning waste energy into heat and electricity will we beat off the competition from imported products, and of course, presently, demand for homegrown produce is higher than ever.”

Over the past 12 months CambridgeHOK has emerged as a key player in UK strawberry production. It is currently building two large glasshouse facilities, including a new six-hectare glasshouse for Beeswax Dyson which will be able to produce 750 tonnes of strawberries at any one time.

Meanwhile, the company’s vertical farming business has risen from from a turnover of just £250,000 in 2015 to close to £8 million last year.

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