‘End of an era’ as Castleford Burberry factory to close

Burberry factory, Albion Street, Castleford
Burberry factory, Albion Street, Castleford

Luxury fashion brand Burberry will close its Castleford factory marking the end of more than a century of clothing manufacturing at the site.

The company will close its Albion Street site as part of plans to open a new manufacturing and weaving facility in Leeds.

Staff from the Castleford site will be transferred to the new facility but it marks the end of more than 100 years of textile work at the site.

Darren Travis, GMB organiser for the Burberry Castleford site, said: “The announcement about the new facility is a bitter-sweet moment.

“The Castleford building is not really fit for purpose anymore. It’s tired, there is asbestos and Burberry is an expanding company so it needs a new home.

“But it is a blow to Castleford as a town. We have had clothing manufacturers on the site for more than 100 years - it is the end of an era.

“I am saddened that something couldn’t be done to build the new facility close to the current site.”

Burberry said that work on the new site, in the South Bank of Leeds, is due to begin in 2016 with an initial investment of £50m.

The facility, which will employ around 1,000 people, is expected to be completed in 2019.

The company said staff from the Castleford site will be offered positions in Leeds.

Mr Travis, who also served as an Altofts and Whitwood councillor on Wakefield Council for 14 years, said: “With my union head on, the jobs that will be created at Leeds is great, but being from Castleford I worry about what the factory closing might lead to. Burberry is the biggest employer in the town.”

Burberry said it plans to hand the Castleford site back to the community so it can be used for regeneration.

Mr Travis said the GMB union would be working with management at Burberry to look at how workers from the Castleford site can get to the new facility in Leeds.

He said: “We need to know what the transport links will be like for people from Castleford to get to the Leeds site.

“We will be working with Burberry on this to see if anything can be put in place.

“Although we would have liked the factory to be closer to Castleford, we do welcome it staying in Yorkshire.”

The new Leeds facility will also replace Burberry’s factory in Cross Hills, near Keighley.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry chief executive officer, said: “I am delighted to announce that the next chapter of Burberry’s manufacturing story will be right here in Yorkshire.”