Cromer Crab Company workforce down to 20 as closure looms
A long-standing Cromer factory is down to skeleton staff as it prepares for closure next month.
Cromer Crab Company on Holt Road has gone from 230 to the current 20, who are 'decommissioning' the site and its equipment.
A spokesman for the company's owner, Young's Seafood, said: 'We have now completed all production on site. There are currently 20 staff still employed on site who are engaged in the decommissioning of the site and equipment.
'This team are scheduled to leave the business in August. The site will be ready for closure in August, with a minimum number of staff left to complete the shutdown.'
Meanwhile, it is understood that talks are continuing between Young's and local producers to find a way to ensure that production of Cromer crabs remains in the town.
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But the spokesman would not comment on plans for the future of the site, amid concerns that it could stand empty.
The looming shutdown is the sad end to a battle to save the factory that began in September 2011, when Young's announced it was launching a consultation into its future.
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The North Norfolk News launched a Claws Off campaign, and North Norfolk Labour Party's Keep it Cromer campaign added to the pressure on Young's to retain the facility.
But, despite additional support from North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and solidarity across the political spectrum, in May Young's announced that the factory would close.
By then, the workforce had been reduced to 109, with some taking redundancy at the beginning of the process.
The Cromer Crab Company was opened in 1980 and - by the time it was owned by Young's - processed prawns, crab, lobster and other shellfish for the UK retailers' own-label, chilled product ranges.
Apart from Cromer crab, which Young's aims to arrange for continued processing locally, the 'volume' from the site has been 'transferred and consolidated' into Young's factories in Grimsby.