MP Chloe Smith urges Britvic and Unilever to move quickly so site can still prosper
PUBLISHED: 18:19 08 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:19 08 January 2018
Eliza Boo Photography
A Norwich MP is demanding Britvic and Unilever move quickly to sell their Carrow Works site to secure "exciting new prospects".
Chloe Smith, who said she was “deeply disappointed” with the firms’ decision to move hundreds of roles away from Norwich, wants the site to be sold so new jobs can be created as soon as they leave.
In a letter, seen by this paper and sent to senior executives at both firms, she demands “I now urge you to work with the government and the Local Enterprise Partnership to identify a buyer for Carrow Works as soon as possible, in order that some of your collective workforce may have the opportunity to once again find employment on the site”.
Last week Unilever announced it was to close its site in the city with only 25 roles being saved at a new Colman’s Mustard milling plant. There is expected to be around 45 redundancies and more than 40 roles will transfer to Burton on Trent.
And last month Britvic – which shared the site – also announced it was moving with more than 240 jobs set to be lost.
But the firm refused to comment on what happens now to Carrow Works. A spokesman for Unilever said: “It’s too early to talk about the future of the site. Our focus at the moment is consulting with our employees on the proposals we have announced.”
A spokesman for Britvic added: “While we understand the call to act quickly, we are not able to discuss the future of the site as Unilever is currently undergoing a consultation with employees.”
But Ms Smith, MP for Norwich North, said: “It is not too early to talk about the site, there are 350 people concerned about their future jobs. It would be a wonderful win if it were possible for some kind of industry to continue on that site – why shouldn’t we be swift and ambitions and try to get some options before the existing businesses fully close down?
“I am in touch with the LEP to discuss the immediate next steps and in touch with ministers at the department for international trade to follow earlier undertakings I had from them to look in to options for potential investors who might be interested from overseas.
“I am keen to move as quickly as possible to secure for the city some exciting new prospects.“