Councils will ask business secretary Greg Clark for help to regenerate Colman’s and Britvic site
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Council bosses will appeal to business secretary Greg Clark for help to redevelop the Carrow Works site when Colman's and Britvic move out in 2019.
They have vowed to explore the 'regeneration potential' of the site for new jobs and homes, following Unilever's decision to move the mustard producer from the site it has occupied for more than 160 years.
It came as Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) reiterated their disappointment over the loss of around 90 jobs to the city, and outlined the steps they had taken to keep them within the region.
In a joint statement, the three bodies said they had been in 'regular contact' with Unilever since it announced the review of its operations, had worked to promote Norwich and Norfolk as a centre of growth and shortlisted potential new sites for the company.
'We have always been committed to do everything we can to support all the employees who may be affected and will continue to work together to give workers all the support and guidance they need to remain in local employment,' they said.
'While we welcome the news of Unilever's new partnership with local farmers which will retain some jobs in Norfolk, the loss of well-paid manufacturing jobs is a blow to the city and the loyal and skilled workforce and their families. We will be working hard to attract new employment opportunities and new businesses to this site.
'Further ahead we will work with the site owners to examine the regeneration potential of this site to attract new jobs and homes to help grow the Norwich economy. We will be contacting the business secretary, Greg Clark, to request an urgent meeting to discuss and seek a significant contribution to the future regeneration of the site by the time production ceases in 2019.'
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Other measures the councils and LEP took included:
• Holding meetings with Unilever executives to discuss options including retaining Unilever on site, and finding alternative site options for a purpose-built facility in or near Norwich;
• A site review meeting with Unilever executives (including site visits) to consider brownfield and greenfield site options meeting their specifications;
• Promoting Norwich and Norfolk as a growth location to Unilever executives;
• Meeting local growers to understand the market;
• Meeting supply chain interests;
• Undertaking a detailed analysis of Unilever's requirements;
• Conducting a city-wide site search, resulting in two shortlisted viable options.
• Liaising with one site owner and developed a business case, including financial model;
• Presenting and touring the two shortlisted sites with Unilever;
• Sending a delegation to meet Chloe Smith and Clive Lewis and business secretary Greg Clark;
• Maintaining regular contact with growers in Unilever's supply chain.