HLC, the largest UK independent pallet manufacturer, opened a second factory at RAF Upwood last August and has created 54 jobs, most within a 10-mile radius. The firm, which has its main office and factory in Needham, Norfolk, required a second site to open ­additional capacity to meet customer service levels after securing a long-term contract with Peterboroughs Perkins Engines. Paul Lewis, HLC commercial director, said: Hangar 3 at the old RAF Upwood site proved to be ideal for our requirements, and with the support of the local council, the site was purchased and production commenced here in August 2013. The Upwood site is ideal for pallet manufacturing and is another ­significant-sized site at eight acres. The transformation at Upwood has been incredible, in what was a rundown area, benefiting from a significant investment approaching £3million to date. We now have two new fully automated production lines here and are just awaiting completion in the next few weeks of the installation of four new kilns, a new wood waste biomass facility and a large undercover ­storage area. HLC has also invested in three lorries and 10 trailers, which all have satellite tracking to offer a highly competitive, efficient delivery ­service, while minimising our carbon footprint. Mr Lewis said: On top of the existing new jobs we will be looking to recruit a further 20 new people in the next six months as we continue to grow which is a fantastic success story for the local area. We are actively recruiting here at present. We are already planning for expansion here in order to remain ahead of our competitors and to deliver the value and service our customers have come to expect from us.