Bright future predicted for Wincanton economy one year on from Adams Foods fire
Business leaders believe Wincanton’s economy will rise from the ashes one year after a major employer slashed nearly 200 jobs.
Adams Foods announced in January 2012 that all 180 jobs were to be scrapped at its Wincanton cheese-packing operation after a fire ripped through the Saxon Way warehouse.
The fire was one of the biggest in the town’s history.
But 12 months on, business leaders have predicted a “bright future” for the market town – as attempts to fill the void are intensified.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Mike Lewis, chairman of South Somerset District Council’s area east committee, is leading a £10,000 project to improve the marketing of Wincanton to attract new businesses.
He said: “It was a huge blow for Wincanton when Adams Foods cut 180 jobs, which is why it’s important for us to do everything we can to assist the town.
“It’s a struggle out there. I think all of our market towns need a helping hand to get back on their feet, particularly post-Christmas and with the economic climate as it is.
“Wincanton has a lot of potential, particularly with the variety of small businesses which it already has. I know everyone is working hard to encourage fresh business into the town centre.
“Due to its location off the A303, Wincanton is in a prime position to thrive. It is a halfway house between Cornwall and London.”
In January 2012, bosses at Adams Foods confirmed all 180 jobs would be lost to the town, with 50 to be relocated to a £27 million plant in Leek, Staffordshire.
Today, the Wincanton centre still remains in operation – but is expected to permanently close within six weeks.
A company spokesperson said: “The Wincanton site is currently open packing the business’s blended cheese and employing around 15 people.
“This sector of the company will move to the new innovation and development centre at the Leek head offices in March.
“At this point all production at Wincanton will cease. While the site is currently up for sale, no decision has been made about the future of the Wincanton complex.”
District councillor Nick Colbert believes Wincanton is used to dealing with adversity – and has backed the town to fight back once more.
He said: “Wincanton has been hit with many bad employment stories over the years.
“However, the people’s spirit is akin to the wartime spirit of defiance in the face of adversity.
“It’s a great attribute to have.
“We have new jobs being created in the town at KFC, Travelodge and the Marston’s Inn and there are a couple more companies looking to open in Wincanton that I am aware of.
“I am also trying to create an anchor in the centre of town to regenerate our high street and bring more trade and jobs to the benefit of the town.”