Warburtons is planning to create a campus-style research and development (R&D) centre in Bolton as it aims to become “Britain’s best food business”.

The baker has submitted a planning application to Bolton Council to add a two-storey 2,278sq m R&D centre to its existing headquarters and bakery at Hereford Street.

In the application, Warburtons stated the centre would be occupied by around 40 people and would be used for the testing and experimentation of new baked goods.

The ground floor will include a large test bakery and R&D space, a milling room, dry ingredients store, cold/frozen stores and staff shower and changing areas. Invited guests will be able to discuss new ideas and products in a meeting area. The first floor will predominantly be administration offices and meeting spaces.

The new centre will be sited outside the secure perimeter of the HQ and bakery and will have “more of an open campus feel”.

“As an ambitious business, Warburtons are proud to be the number one bakery brand in the UK, but have ambition to become Britain’s best food business,” stated the application.

“The new R&D facility will be a key development which will ensure the company continues to innovate and lead the bakery food sector, sustaining the company’s well-respected image as a dedicated family business.”

In a statement to British Baker, Warburtons said:“Since opening our first grocery shop in Bolton in 1870, we have always been committed to developing our family business locally.

“If the planning is granted, the new research and development centre will provide state-of-the-art facilities so we can continue to deliver unbeatable quality and breakthrough product innovation.”

Warburtons this month unveiled its first launch of 2017, Toastie Pockets, that it claims enables anyone to make a sandwich toastie easily.

The business has also announced the roll-out of crumpets under its gluten-free Newburn Bakehouse brand.