Jobs at risk as bakery giant announces closure of Norwich depot

Lorries at the Allied Bakeries depot in Diamond Road on the Vulcan Road Industrial Estate in Norwich

Lorries at the Allied Bakeries depot in Diamond Road on the Vulcan Road Industrial Estate in Norwich. Picture: Mark Shields. - Credit: Archant

Dozens of jobs have been put at risk at a Norwich distribution centre after bosses announced its closure.

The Allied Bakeries depot on the Vulcan Road Industrial Estate, from where bread and baked goods are delivered around the region, will shut because too much work is needed to modernise it to make it viable, they said.

The company, part of Associated British Foods (ABF), said 49 people are employed at the base, which is scheduled to close by the start of next year.

It is understood the distribution work will be transferred to a Suffolk logistics firm, with Allied Bakeries offering reassurances that all staff who want to relocate will be offered a post. Employees are also being offered voluntary redundancy.

Nick Law, director of operations, said the future of the Diamond Road site had been reviewed because of 'the significant deterioration of its buildings and infrastructure'.

'We have concluded that the investment that would be needed to modernise the site would not provide a sufficient return to the business in the long term, and as such we have announced that we are proposing to close the Norwich depot,' he said.

A consultation process with workers and representatives from the United Road Transport Union is under way, and Mr Law said the company would be making 'every effort' to find new jobs for staff either at the new distributor, within the ABF group or elsewhere in the area.

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'We are hopeful that a significant number of our employees will be able to transfer their employment to a local third-party logistics company [and] we're currently in contract negotiations for them to take on local deliveries on behalf of Allied Bakeries,' he said.

'We don't take decisions like this lightly, and we appreciate that this will be an uncertain and difficult time for everyone at the Norwich depot – many of whom are long-serving and loyal members of the team.

'The proposed depot closure in no way reflects on either their high professional standards or absolute commitment to doing a great job for our customers.'

Allied Bakeries produces well-known brands including Kingsmill, Allinson and Sunblest.

The Diamond Road site was previously a bakery, but has been used only as a depot since 1999.