A spokesman for Cromer’s parent company, Young’s Seafood told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We have now completed all production at the site. There are currently 20 staff still employed on site who are engaged in the decommissioning of the site and its equipment.”
When Young’s Seafood first announced it would be reviewing Cromer’s manufacturing operations in September 2011, 230 staff were employed at the Norfolk facility.
Young’s officially announced that it would cease production in May 2012.
The Cromer Crab Company was the largest private-sector employer in the North Norfolk coastal town and locals campaigned fiercely to keep the site open, winning support from the likes of Stephen Fry and Alan Titchmarsh. Thousands signed a petition to ‘Keep it Cromer’.
Young’s transferred volume production from the North Norfolk site to its factories in Grimsby “as this is the most financially viable and sustainable option for shellfish processing for the long term”.
Factory for sale
Estate agents in Grimsby and Norfolk have been instructed on the sale of the factory.
Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, portfolio member for business enterprise and economic development at North Norfolk District Council, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Our hope is that we keep it [the site] as a food factory. There have been expressions of interest but there’s no one lined up yet.”
Young’s announced plans to keep some crab and lobster production in Norfolk.
“They’re looking for a local partner to produce crab and lobster for them,” FitzPatrick said.
He said this production would probably not be at the Norfolk site as the entire premises were up for sale.
FitzPatrick welcomed Young’s statement that the Cromer Crab name will remain in Cromer, “where it belongs” but said the closure was “a bitter blow to Cromer”.
“Diversification was supposed to strengthen things but the market collapsed,” he said.
Leendert den Hollander, chief executive of Young’s Seafood, said: “We have made some tough choices about our manufacturing operations, as we have adjusted to the new reality in the macroeconomic environment and to achieve our long-term objectives. While we recognise that the general economic environment remains challenging, we’re confident we’re taking the necessary steps to put us on the right track for the future.”
The expansion of production at Young’s Seafood’s Humberstone Road and Mardsen Road factories in Grimsby will result in the sites taking on about 321 staff in addition to the 776 people who currently work there. Cromer employees were invited to apply for the roles.