Omni-Pac factory site could get new life

STEPHEN PULLINGER A Yarmouth factory closed because of asbestos contamination looks likely to be redeveloped as part of a major regeneration scheme.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

A Yarmouth factory closed because of asbestos contamination looks likely to be redeveloped as part of a major regeneration scheme.

Borough council economic director Mark Barrow said he was “very optimistic” of a positive outcome to talks with Pactiv, the Chicago-based owners of the former Omni-Pac plant, to end the company's long lease agreement with the council.

The egg-carton plant in South Denes closed with the loss of about 200 jobs after large amounts of asbestos were found during an inspection in 2003.

The council, which owns the 10-acre site stretching from the river to South Beach Parade on the coastal side of the peninsula, is negotiating with the East of England Development Agency for funding to help with possible decontamination and demolition work.

Mr Barrow said: “In the context of the outer harbour and the new Urban Regeneration Company area it is a strategically important site and we want to keep all our options open for its development.”

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Barry Stone, the council's Cabinet member for the economy, said: “The site could be appropriate for a park-and- ride, or possibly some sort of storage area for the outer harbour. There are no specific proposals at the moment.”

He added that local people would welcome the tidying up of a fairly tatty site.

Peter Jermy, human resources manager for Omni-Pac, said he was aware of on-going discussions with the firm's corporate headquarters in Chicago.

He said: “Our position is that we want to work with the council and help them with the economic development of Yarmouth.”

Mr Jermy said the factory had been stripped and rendered safe, but the only personnel now on site were security officers.

Last November, Omni-Pac admitted two health-and- safety charges relating to the asbestos discovery and the case has been sent to Norwich Crown Court for sentence at a hearing likely to be in the Spring.

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