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'Significant contribution' from government will be sought to replace jobs lost at Colman's and Britvic

PUBLISHED: 17:48 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:48 24 January 2018

View of the Unilever and Britvic site. Picture: Archant library

View of the Unilever and Britvic site. Picture: Archant library

Archant

The leader of Norwich City Council has said he will seek a "significant contribution" of government cash to attract new jobs to the site due to be vacated by Unilever and Britvic.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

Alan Waters said he would not want to see the site turned solely into housing, saying it is crucial that well-paid, skilled jobs replace those set to be lost.

A meeting was held on Tuesday with representatives of Unilever, producers of Colman’s Mustard, who announced this month that they would move production away from the site it has occupied for more than 160 years.

Britvic, which makes Robinson’s drinks and Fruit Shoots, announced in October it would be leaving Carrow Works, which it co-owns with Unilever.

Consultation with Unilever staff is ongoing, and leaders from City Hall, County Hall and the New Anglia LEP still hope for a change of mind. But they are looking at what happens after 2019, when production is due to end.

Business Secretary Greg Clark. Pic: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.Business Secretary Greg Clark. Pic: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.

They are to write to business secretary Greg Clark to ask for an urgent meeting over what the government might be able to do to regenerate the site.

Mr Waters said: “The announcement of the closure of the Carrow Works site and the subsequent loss of more than 360 well paid manufacturing jobs is a blow to the city’s economy and the loyal and skilled workforce of Britvic and Unilever and their families.

“Since the closure announcement, the city council has continued to lead and co-ordinate the response from Norfolk County Council and the LEP to help mitigate the impact of the closure and assist the workforce in finding new employment opportunities and any associated retraining or relocation support.

“Further ahead, we will be looking to work collaboratively with the site owners to examine the regeneration potential of the site to attract new jobs and homes to help the future growth of the Norwich economy.

Colman's is to leave the Carrow Works site. Pic: Nick Ansell/PA Wire.Colman's is to leave the Carrow Works site. Pic: Nick Ansell/PA Wire.

“We will also be contacting the business secretary to request an urgent meeting to discuss and seek a significant contribution to the future regeneration of the site by the time production ceases.”

Mr Waters added: “It’s got to be a substantial employment site, maybe with some housing. We would be seeking government help to replace the jobs and buck up the economy of Norwich.”

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