A MAJOR packaging firm is looking to make its base in Flintshire the largest it runs in the UK as demand for business grows.

Smurfit Kappa originally took on the corrugated packaging facility on Mold Business Park back in 2010.

The European company is now looking to extend the capacity of the plant on Maes Gwern Road by more than 14,000 square metres.

Representatives said the investment was needed to provide security for the 170 staff currently employed there, as well as around 50 new job opportunities.

While they acknowledged that the scale of the development was significant, they added that it should be seen as appropriate against the setting of the business park.

In documents submitted to Flintshire Council, they said: “The business is tightly integrated into the local economy employing 170 people directly with 80 per cent of those living in surrounding area.

“Smurfit Kappa also support a number of local community projects in schools and charities and are very keen to continue to invest in the future of the business and local community.

“Having operated within its constructed capacity business growth has plateaued and as a result of this, the company have formulated an investment plan to expand capacity by more than 80 per cent and significantly grow the business over the next five years.”

Originally built in 1994,  the factory has passed through the hands of three different owners in the last two decades.

According to Smurfit Kappa, the new development has been carefully positioned and will be screened by trees.

Officials said it would also help them to meet demand levels within the industry.

They added: “The pressures in the corrugated market are demanding higher

economies of scale and this expansion will enable it to remain competitive and

operate with continued success.

“The proposal will allow the business expansion and provide a strong basis to continue operations in Mold for considerable period into the future.

“It will essentially elevate the Mold site to become Smurfit Kappa’s largest UK production facility.”

Comments are currently being invited on the application via the local authority’s website.

Planning officers are aiming to make a decision on the proposals by the middle of next month.