PLANS to create a year-round tomato production facility on Teesside creating more than 30 jobs have been welcomed by regeneration officials.

The £3m scheme, which will create 32 jobs, will see thousands of tomato plants produced and grown in Billingham.

Grower John Baarda will use carbon dioxide, electricity and steam produced as a by-product by Terra Industries to grow 360,000 tomato plants at a time at the 23-acre Cowpen Road site.

Tees Valley Regeneration acted as broker between John Baarda and Terra to develop the scheme.

John Leer, strategic investment manager, said: "We were very keen to attract this investment to the Tees Valley and worked hard to ensure this link between the two companies.

"This project brings good jobs, investment, environmental plusses and a new market to the area.

"It also offers the chance to consumers to buy fresh, tasty British-grown tomatoes that are not put on the shelves already suffering from jet lag."