Town suffers fresh jobs blow

By James MortlockA TOWN, already reeling from the announcement that a major employer is to close with the loss of 150 jobs, has been dealt three fresh blows.

By James Mortlock

A TOWN, already reeling from the announcement that a major employer is to close with the loss of 150 jobs, has been dealt three fresh blows.

Just two weeks after Parmalat Dairies – formerly Bridge Farm Dairies – announced its closure, bosses at one of Mildenhall's oldest businesses, Parker Brothers animal feed producers, revealed it was to shut with the loss of 10 jobs.

Michael Parker, managing director of the 105-year-old firm, said a drop in the number of livestock farmers in the area had made it impossible for the company to continue.

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Lamb Technicon, which employs 150 people and is one of Mildenhall's biggest firms, is also to axe between 20 and 30 jobs. The redundancies will be spread between its manufacturing sites in the town's Hampstead Avenue and in Solihull.

A spokesman for the firm dismissed rumours the business was to close, but stressed: "There will be job losses unless something significant happens, but we can't confirm who or when until every avenue has been explored."

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Another businessman calling it a day in the town is Matt White, who owns and runs Mildenhall Quality Fruit and Veg in Market Place.

After only a few months of trading Mr White said he could not make the venture work and added: "I've tried everything in here I can think of, but it didn't work – it's so frustrating."

Mr White, who also runs A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That, a business he said was doing well, blamed the lack of shoppers for his decision.

John Taylor, chairman of the Mildenhall Community Partnership – which is working to revive the town – said action needed to be taken to help businesses survive.

"It just shows you that it's no good sitting back and waiting for something to happen – we have to intervene to get things to come good," he added.

Parmalat Dairies will shut in the summer after rising milk prices made the yoghurt-making business unsustainable.

Managing director Chris Ball said the finance and administration functions carried out at the Worlington Road site would be transferred to Parmalat's head office in Egham and the production line moved to Kendal.

Gerald Taylor-Balls, chairman of Mildenhall Parish Council, said the announcement had come as a big shock.

"Most staff will not want to relocate, which adds to the problem. This is a lot of people to find new jobs for. In this day and age there are not many positions available. This has come as a real blow," he added.

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