150 jobs lost after Lowestoft factory fire

Workers at a food processing factory which was destroyed by a fire earlier this year have been made redundant.

The Wessex Foods factory in Lowestoft was completely gutted by fire in July and the 150 employees were off work on basic pay while a 90-day consultation into possible redundancies was launched.

Today, the consultation ended and employees were all made redundant with immediate effect.

It had been hoped that another factory site would be found in Lowestoft, but it has not been possible to find alternative production facilities in East Anglia.

A spokesman for Irish-based Wessex Foods said that the factory had been 'completely destroyed' by the fire.

He said: 'Vigorous efforts have been made to find a solution to allow the company to continue large-scale production in the area, but this has not proved possible.

'Meetings with staff have been held, and they have all been informed that redundancy notices were issued with effect from October 29. They have been made aware of other openings in the Anglo Beef Processors Group.

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'Additionally, a number of opportunities exist at the former Brooks of Norwich site, where minimal production has been taking place and is scheduled to continue in the short term.'

The spokesman added: 'It is with considerable regret that our production at Lowestoft has possibly come to an end. The plant was a leading producer of burgers and other meat products in the UK, supplying leading retailers and food service companies.

'We would like to thank our skilled workforce for their service in the past and wish them well. We are grateful for the support we have received from the local authorities.'

Wessex Foods will continue to have an office in Lowestoft, with a number of staff working there to support the group's wider business. The damaged factory, on Hadenham Road, has been almost entirely demolished.

The announcement of redundancies from Wessex Foods is the latest blow for industry in Lowestoft. Earlier this year, about 190 jobs were lost when the Jeld Wen timber processing factory closed and hundreds of workers were made redundant from engineering firm SLP.