LUSH is spending £13million on creating a “test bed for ideas and innovation” in Poole.

The town's global cosmetics brand has spent £4.6m buying an industrial unit on the Nuffield Industrial Estate, proclaiming it a strong signal that the UK will remain the company’s home.

Managing director Mark Constantine said the firm would spend another £8.4m on "doing it up".

Lush has moved 20 per cent of its business to Germany since the EU referendum, but says a 25 per cent growth in sales has allowed to keep the same number of staff in Poole.

Mr Constantine announced plans for the new facility during a speech to the Jobshop UK directors’ lunch at Poole’s Harbour Heights hotel.

“We’re calling it Unit 1, or 1 Lush,” he said.

“What we’re up to in there is putting in all our innovation and new things – so it gives us the facilities, it adds another one fifth to our space in Poole and gives us the facilities to work on new things.

“Someone can invent something and we can make it within six to 12 weeks,” he added.

The 50,000sqft building, in a 2.5 acre plot, is at Witney Road, opposite or adjacent to three Lush manufacturing units and near to several others.

A Lush statement said there had been “some internal debate” about the decision to buy the building. “However, there was an overriding belief that this made sense for Lush; not just for the company but as a way to send a strong message internally and externally that the UK is Lush’s home and will always be integral to everything Lush does as a global business,” the company said.

The unit would be a place where “design teams can let their blue sky thinking become a reality” and could build full-scale examples of Lush’s stores of the future.

Mr Constantine said Lush stores were getting bigger and the products tried in the Poole unit could go quickly to a new flagship store in Liverpool, three times the size of its branch in London’s Oxford Street.

Mr Constantine said Lush’s 2,400 Poole staff, who are paid the voluntary Living Wage, made it the biggest employer in the town apart from the hospital.

He repeated his criticisms of Brexit and the government, but said Lush had managed to find the 800 extra staff it needed to prepare for Christmas demand.

He said: “We’ve moved 20 per cent of our business to Germany with 80 of our staff, the ones who didn’t want to be living here.

“Fortunately for us, we’ve had a 25 per cent lift in our British business from last year. We’re enjoying considerable success and the British public are very, very kind to us, probably kinder than to anyone else on the high street at the moment, I would imagine.”