Heather Mills plans to create 300 jobs by turning the North-East into the “Silicon Valley” of vegan food.
The campaigner has snapped up the former Walkers Crisps factory in Peterlee, Co Durham, near where she grew up – and collects the keys on Monday.
She aims to turn the facility into the nation’s largest vegan-only plant.
Heather, 50, said: “I knew I had to try to buy it.
"This was the most important factory in the area. And I want to do something positive in the Brexit situation.
“I want this to become the vegan food equivalent of technology’s Silicon Valley in California.
Heather hopes to bring jobs to the North-East
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"A plant-based valley, that will bring more business into the North-East.”
Walkers’ parent company PepsiCo shut the site in 2017, hitting 355 jobs.
Heather, who launched vegan food firm VBites 25 years ago, already has two factories – with 100 staff at Corby, Northants, and 42 at Benton, Newcastle.
And with UK vegans surging from 270,000 in 2014 to 3.5 million this year, she thinks it is a sector that Brexit will boost.
Heather said: “Plant-based firms in EU countries have come to me and said supermarkets won’t buy from them any more, they’re too expensive.
“They’ve asked us to manufacture for them.
"So yes, Brexit is awful but if it means we’re inexpensive when it comes to manufacturing, then let’s get on and do it.”
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