Fire-ravaged factory will stay in town

BOSSES at a bacon plant devastated by a massive blaze have pledged their future to Suffolk and say they hope to find a new site on which to rebuild their factory as soon as possible.

BOSSES at a bacon plant devastated by a massive blaze have pledged their future to Suffolk and say they hope to find a new site on which to rebuild their factory as soon as possible.

Staff from Direct Table Foods in Bury St Edmunds have been forced to make a daily 150-mile round-trip to the firm's second site in Hertfordshire since the fire in November.

But last night, financial and site director Colin Perry said talks are currently underway to secure a new site close to the existing plant in Lamdin Road.

"There are a number of options that we are looking into at the moment," he said. "Our preference is to find a new site in Bury to build a new factory on, as this would enable us to keep our key personnel and workforce, the majority of whom live in Bury and the surrounding area.


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"People are currently having to travel by coach to our other site. This situation is not ideal for anyone concerned, and we are keen to get these people back to Bury as quickly as possible."

Staff arriving for an early-morning shift at the Danish owned factory, which produces the Suffolk Crown brand, as well as produce for supermarkets including Tesco and Morrisons, watched in horror as the fire ripped through the building late last year.

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Around 80 shift workers were evacuated from the factory as 130 firefighters manning 25 appliances from across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex successfully prevented the blaze from spreading to neighbouring premises.

Fire officers investigating the cause of the blaze said afterwards it was likely to have been started by a bacon smoker.

Mr Perry said the option of rebuilding the factory at its existing location was also being examined as a back-up plan.

"We are trying to take the long-term future of the factory into consideration, and hope that we will find a plot of land big enough for us to be able to expand and improve the business," he said.

"If the preferred options do not come into fruition, then we will simply rebuild the factory where it stands now.

"Most of the factory was destroyed by the fire and the site is in a pretty bad way, with a lot of it already at ground level.

"If we were to rebuild, we would have to demolish what is left of the factory and start again from scratch."

The blaze at Direct Table Foods was the third major fire to hit Bury in just two months and came just one week after a similarly devastating fire at the town's Premier Food factory, just yards away from the bacon processing plant.

The town's leisure centre was also wrecked by a blaze in September, just as a £1million refurbishment scheme was nearing an end.

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