Campaigners who battled to save Cromer’s threatened crab factory have been left reeling after bosses confirmed it would shut this summer with the loss of 109 jobs.

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The decision by parent company Young’s Seafood comes after an eight-month consultation on a review of its shellfish operations.

This afternoon the workforce was briefed at the site on Holt Road and told that - apart from Cromer crab, which would continue to be processed locally - the “volume” from the site would be “transferred and consolidated” into Young’s factories in Grimsby.

The phased transfer of workload would phased closure at Cromer between June and August.

Community leaders have been left “deeply disappointed” by the news and have described the closure as a “bitter blow” for Cromer.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said the announcement was “tragic news” for the remaining 109 staff who had been “living under a cloud” during the eight-month consultation.

He added: “We have got to make certain that those individuals have assistance and support in finding other employment. I will do anything I can to assist and support people but there’s no escaping the fact this is very bad news.”

Greg Hayman, Cromer mayor, said his heart went out to staff and thought the announcement was “particularly sad” as it came just days after the annual crab and lobster festival, which celebrates the importance of the town’s crabbing industry.

Denise Burke, chairman of North Norfolk Labour Party, added: “The closure of such a significant business in Cromer is very sad news and the consequences of this decision will be felt throughout the community.

“We are disappointed Young’s could not have reached a more favourable outcome.”

North Norfolk District Council also expressed its “extreme disappointment” but pledged to help those facing redundancy.

Tom FitzPatrick, cabinet member for business and economic development, added: “This is a bitter blow to Cromer. The committed and dedicated team at Cromer Crab have worked with Young’s Seafood to try and find a solution which would keep this facility open.”

Young’s explained the move in a statement which said it was the “most financially viable and sustainable option, for shellfish processing, for the long-term.”

The firm said it had considered “short-term and long-term costs, financial sustainability, quality and technical requirements, and the manufacturing capabilities of the site.”

Chief operating officer Pete Ward added: “We have looked long and hard at this and I’d like to stress that this move does not, in any way, reflect on the committed and experienced team in Cromer.

“Their passion and pride in Cromer crab is commendable and the work they do has always been outstanding.

“Shellfish processing remains important to our company, as we consolidate shellfish processing in Grimsby. Our priority is to continue to fulfil customer contracts, alongside ensuring that the employees affected by this announcement get the support they need by working closely with them, local agencies and other key stakeholders.”

Young’s said it remained committed to buying from local fishermen, while keeping Cromer crab processing local.

Mr Ward added: “We are today confirming that we will ensure that the Cromer Crab brand stays in its rightful home in Cromer, by working with local stakeholders on how we can give the Cromer community the right to use this brand name into the future.”

The Cromer Crab Company, which is now part of Young’s Seafood Limited, was opened in 1980 and processes prawns, crab, lobster and other shellfish for the UK retailers’ own-label, chilled product ranges.

The 90-day minimum consultation over the factory’s future began in September but was extended. The closure plan prompted campaigns by the local Labour Party, the North Norfolk News and saw intervention by local MP Norman Lamb.

The wider review also sees fish and seafood processing switched to Grimsby from the former Cumbrian Seafoods sites at Seaham and Whitehaven, which will also be closed. The Grimsby expansion will however lead to another 321 jobs.

16 comments

  • There is also the issue of food localism. You cant make a pork pie in Cromer, for example, & call it a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. Same with a Cromer crab, they would have to come from Cromer! Would the factory prove to be more viable if returned to local ownership?

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    Paul Radbourne

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • If even a business minister can't convince businesses to stay on our doorstep what hope is there?

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • Bad times for Cromer folk, methinks these bods could retrain for some of that life science government cash...no future for some folk!!!!

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    nrg

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • In answer to the question about Youngs walking away with the brand name, I suggest locals do what is one with Ale. Set up a company selling "The Real Cromer Crab Company" This product and history belongs to us here, not some multinational

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    weaversway

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • He added: “We have got to make certain that those individuals have assistance and support in finding other employment". Yeh right. Once the Slave Centre Plus have their clutches into you you will be dictated to, threatened, by withdrawal of benefits, and be treated like rubbish. >>>> And as for: "I will do anything I can to assist and support people but there’s no escaping the fact this is very bad news.” Just what assistance can he give ??. Just words. good luck for the future to all the effected workers though !.

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    "V"

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • This is terrible news for the workers and Cromer. When 109 workers lose their job, not only do they lose their wage but there will be 109 less pay-packets to be spent in the local economy.

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    Wandering Crab

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • Did anyone ever think differently. It was a done deal right from the start. The business is really owned by an investment firm Lion Capital. Lion Capital clearly decided that they weren`t going to make much money, if any from the Cromer Crab Company. So whatever Youngs Seafoods opinions on the subject were, they just pulled the plug.

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    BG

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • Surely some kind of effrontery on the part of Youngs. Cromer crabs have been Cromer crabs long before they turned up to ruin a good business, and just because they put a capital "C" on "Crabs" hardly qualifies them to be so presumptuous as to say "how we can give the Cromer community the right to use this brand name into the future".

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    T Doff

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • Norman Lamb is one of Vince Cable's business team so where is the investment from Government? Lotus were offered £10million to stay in Norfolk.

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • well what a surprise cromer crab closing down??? the only surprise there is that they managed to keep the closure from all our interlectual high ups for so long it was always going to close it was just a matter of when!! all this talk of helping the people who it will affect find other employment is rubbish what they really mean is they will make an offer of a job in grimsby or wherever and if they refuse it will be ok sorry we cant help you any further.its funny how this brand name thingy work if i went down to cromer and caught a crab (no pun intended) and then went home and put it outside to sell as a cromer crab am i infringing on brand name?? when in fact it is what i say a crab caught in cromer i am selling. i am really sorry for all the workforce of CCF good luck for the future

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • The company will have to make modifications to the company gates, for the staff to leave first. As they maybe walking out sideways in protest....

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    chebram71

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • Great Marketing Ideas indeed.lets hope the magnificent Cromer Crab can now be what it always was .a "cottage industry' for the delight of visitors and locals alike.Though I have a close friend who runs Ibizas best Seafood Restaurant,and he just wished he could serve Cromer Crabs at his restaurant,we ate them together in Norwich and he has never stopped talking about the experience

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    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • How can Youngs claim the right to Cromer Crab as a brand ? They have no right to it.

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    Mr Majika

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • why should youngs be allowed to get away with taking a large portion of local industry and economy away from north norfolk, if they want to close the factory then they shouldnt be transferring any production or economic profits from north norfolk....... i suggest the local fishing industry starts a co-operative and only making the catches from north norfolk available only from the fishing comunity of north norfolk marketing them directly to blue chip clients and the pubic if youngs want to buy the produce make them pay through the nose for it! youngs could have easily made the cromer crab factory more productive and efficient through diversity of products and better price negotiations. how can transferring the 'volume' of production to grimsby be cost effective given that there will be increased logistics costs and the cost of preparationprocessing production will remain the same or do youngs feel that by closing the factory they will drive down the value of north norfolk catches thereby increasing their buying power and offsetting the increased logistics costs. the only cost savings to youngs will be the fixed costs of maintaining the property on holt road the production costs will remain the same.

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    Gabby Newton

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • 109 workers have been led to believe that the Cromer crab company is saved, when it was clear from the start that Youngs wanted the name but not the social responsibility.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

  • how many more jobs have to be lost before the government changes tact with the economy! mr lamb is a business minister but has no answers to stop this happening.

    Report this comment

    euromeltdown

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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