Lowestoft: Concern over future of major town employer Cefas
- Credit: James Bass
ONE of the Lowestoft area’s biggest employers could leave the town as part of a Government review which could see it moved to a new site outside Suffolk.
It has been revealed that the Centre for Environment, Aquaculture and Fisheries Science (Cefas) site at Pakefield could be closed as the building will soon be unfit for purpose and is costly to maintain.
As part of a far-reaching review, Cefas and the Government are looking at four options for the future of the Pakefield Road laboratory site, which currently has 422 staff based there.
The options being looked at are for Cefas to remain in Pakefield with possible improvements to facilities, moving to another site in Lowestoft, relocating to the Norwich Research Park at Colney or moving operations to another part of the country by merging with other science bodies.
Although Cefas stressed that the review was in its early stages, the possible loss of more than 400 jobs and scientific expertise from Lowestoft and the potential blow to the town’s economy has prompted strong calls for the agency to remain in Pakefield, which has been its home since 1955.
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Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he had been aware of the review into Cefas’s future for about a month.
He had arranged a meeting with its interim chief executive, Mike Waldock, to try to persuade him to keep it in the Lowestoft area.
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Mr Aldous said: “My understanding is that we have a Cefas building that is not going to fall down tomorrow but is not suitable for the long term.
“I believe that Cefas has a important role here in Lowestoft.”
Labour’s Bob Blizzard added: “Cefas is a vital part of our local economy. It would be a disaster if Cefas was forced out of Lowestoft.”
When asked about the review, a Cefas spokesman said “It is very early days. We are looking at several options and are evaluating the costs and benefits of each one.”
A spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We are currently reviewing the Lowestoft site as it is costly to maintain and will not support Cefas operations long into the future.”