Speedibake reveal proposals to permanently close Wakefield bakery, weeks after fire tears through the building
Speedibake have announced plans to permanently close their Wakefield site, just weeks after the factory was damaged in a fire.
The bakery, on Colinsway, Wakefield, was badly damaged in a fire on Saturday, February 1.
Hundreds of firefighters were called in to tackle the blaze, which burned for more than 24 hours and engulfed much of the city centre in a dark cloud of smoke.
The company had previously said they were undertaking a "full investigation" into the site, and would consider all options, including rebuilding the factory.
But they have now said they intend to bring an end to all operations on their Wakefield site, as "the financial cost and time needed to undertake a full rebuild is simply too great".
They added: "However, we are now in a consultation period with our employees and remain open to alternative proposals."
Following the fire, Speedibake, who are owned by Associated British Foods, committed to pay all affected staff for at least three months.
They acknowledged that today's announcement was likely to be "deeply upsetting" for many staff, and said they would support those affected in finding alternative employment, and invited local businesses to get in touch with job openings.
Dozens of homes and businesses were evacuated during the fire earlier this month, with residents describing "mayhem" as the blaze took hold.
Nearby businesses, including Cineworld and Mecca Bingo, remained closed for several days following the fire.
The full Speedibake statement reads: "Following the devastating fire at our bakery in Colinsway, Wakefield on the 1st February we are sorry to announce that we have today put forward proposals that the site should close.
"Speedibake has operated from Wakefield since 1988, and we have carefully explored a number of options to try and keep the site open. However, the fire completely destroyed two buildings, and those that remained suffered significant structural damage.
"With great regret, we consider that the financial cost and time needed to undertake a full rebuild is simply too great to make it a viable option. However, we are now in a consultation period with our employees and remain open to alternative proposals.
"As has been the case throughout, our priority remains our employees as we work through a period of consultation on these proposals.
"Following the fire, we committed to pay everyone for a period of at least 3 months while we assessed the damage, though we have been mindful that we need to give people clarity as quickly as possible so that they can plan for the future.
"We know that this announcement will be deeply upsetting for many people and we give our absolute commitment that, if the proposals are accepted, we will support those affected to help them find alternative employment.
"Our Bradford bakery remains fully operational and due to one complete production line being transferred there we will be able to offer a number of roles to affected employees. We will also be speaking to other ABF owned businesses in the region and would welcome contact from any employers in the local area with details of potential job openings which we will ensure are passed on.
"In the meantime, we will continue to work with our employees through this period of consultation and have expressed to them our deep gratitude and pride in the manner they responded to the fire and its aftermath. We are also thankful for the support we continue to receive from the community, our suppliers and customers.”