New bacon factory gets go-ahead
A BACON plant devastated by fire will be replaced with a bigger and better factory at a site nearby, it was agreed yesterday .Hundreds of jobs appeared to hang in the balance after flames ripped through the Direct Table Foods factory in Bury St Edmunds in November, with many deciding to make daily 150-mile round trips to the firm's second site in Hertfordshire.
A BACON plant devastated by fire will be replaced with a bigger and better factory at a site nearby, it was agreed yesterday .
Hundreds of jobs appeared to hang in the balance after flames ripped through the Direct Table Foods factory in Bury St Edmunds in November, with many deciding to make daily 150-mile round trips to the firm's second site in Hertfordshire.
But site director Colin Perry said last night things were looking up and the firm could now begin to overcome the problems of the past few months after the local council gave permission for the fresh start at Saxham.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council backed plans for Direct Table Foods to re-establish the plant, enabling the business to remain in the area and continue to employ its existing workforce close to home.
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It is now hoped that work on the factory - which will be built on land at the Saxham Business Park to the west of the town - can get underway as quickly as possible.
Mr Perry said: "It has always been our intention to stay in Bury. The business is growing and the larger site will give us more scope to expand, which we have not been able to do until now, and will be more equipped to accommodate the factory."
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The new site, which is more than three times the size of the factory's current fire-wrecked home in Lamdin Road, will accommodate 250 full time members of staff.
It will cost the firm in the region on £5million to relocate, on top of the insurance pay-out received following the fire.
Staff arriving for an early morning shift at the Danish owned factory, which produces the Suffolk Crown brand of bacon as well as other pork produce, watched in horror as the fire took hold of the building last year.
Around 80 shift workers were evacuated from the factory as 130 firefighters, operating 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 in a bacon smoker.
Mr Perry said: "The fire was a great tragedy for the firm. We have been through a lot and the next few months will be pressured and quite stressful, but we have no choice but to go through it in order to get where we want to go, which we want to do as quickly as possible.
"The new factory will be just as we had it, and we will be operating the same business, but it will just mean we have the opportunity to grow.
"Getting the plans approved is fantastic news, and I speak for both myself and my colleagues when I say we are absolutely delighted."