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Attleborough councillors tell of relief at Banham Poultry sale

PUBLISHED: 08:26 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:02 09 October 2018

Two men were found dead at Banham Poultry factory in Attleborough. Picture: Denise Bradley

Two men were found dead at Banham Poultry factory in Attleborough. Picture: Denise Bradley

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The purchase of troubled firm Banham Poultry on Friday night has been hailed as a ‘fantastic’ outcome by Attleborough councillors.

Stuart Burns and Alyson Brett-Burns opening The Courtyard Tearooms in Attleborough in 2015. PHOTO: Sonya DuncanStuart Burns and Alyson Brett-Burns opening The Courtyard Tearooms in Attleborough in 2015. PHOTO: Sonya Duncan

More than 1,000 jobs were saved after the company was sold to Chesterfield Poultry on Friday after a summer of rising costs and falling trade left the Attleborough-based firm in financial difficulties and in desperate talks to find a new buyer.

The sale, in a pre-pack administration deal, was finally completed at the end of a harrowing week for the company in which two pest control subcontractors were found dead in a suspected refrigerated gas leak.

Chesterfield Poultry specialises in chicken production and its products are sold in small supermarkets around the UK, processing more than 1,200,000 birds a week.

Queens Ward Attleborough Town Councillor Stuart Burns, who runs The Courtyard Tearoom on the same street as the firm, said the influence of Banham Poultry spread far beyond the factory walls.

Butcher and councillor Tony Perkins with sausages in 2013. PHOTO: Sonya DuncanButcher and councillor Tony Perkins with sausages in 2013. PHOTO: Sonya Duncan

He said: “There’s so many interconnected interests locally. If it had closed lots of local businesses would have been affected. My business is 500 metres away, and we certainly benefit from Banham Poultry.”

Mr Burns added: “It’s a fantastic result for people who were going to be affected by it. As a town council we are relieved that the jobs are secured.”

Councillor Tony Perkins, of Tony Perkins Butchers, said: “As soon as the news broke that there was a potential take over there was a sharp intake of breath around the town.

“It would affect the overall economy here quite a lot. It was good news that it was a successful deal and everybody’s nerves were calmed down.

Attleborough Town Council member Anthony Busk. Picture: STUART ANDERSONAttleborough Town Council member Anthony Busk. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

“We have got to feel for the families involved of the two men who lost their lives and I wish them well. Everybody is really sad about that but on the other hand pleased that the deals came off.”

Fellow councillor Anthony Busk, a former management consultant, said: “The news is fantastic. As a councillor and as an individual I had considerable concern, as many people with specific skills would have been unable to find work easily.

“I’m very pleased that the company cooperated very well with the council. We are all looking forward very much to that same level of co-operation in the future.”

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