This is an archived press release
Thursday 27 November 2008
27 November 2008
Long term future of Hartington creamery on the table
Discussions about the long-term future of a Peak District cheese making factory where 180 jobs are under threat will take place early next year.
The new owners of the Stilton making factory have agreed to meet again with the Peak District National Park Authority to come up with a detailed plan for the future of the site in Hartington.
The work will be carried out in consultation with Hartington villagers and with the support of Hartington Parish Council, Derbyshire Dales District Council, Derbyshire County Council, Visit Peak District and Derbyshire and the East Midlands Regional Development Agency (emda).
In September Long Clawson Dairy bought Dairy Crest’s Stilton and speciality cheese business, including the Hartington Creamery. It immediately announced it was consulting with staff at Hartington about transferring production to its other dairies in Leicestershire, putting 180 jobs under threat.
Last month (October) the sale was referred by the Office of Fair Trading to the Competition Commission. The commission is looking at what the sale means for the cheese industry as Long Clawson Dairies now owns two of the three biggest Stilton producing factories.
While the investigation is carried out Long Clawson must manage Hartington Creamery as a separate business and put on hold its consultation over the future of the site. The Competition Commission is expected to give a provisional view by late January and make a final decision by 24 March.
Jim Dixon, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “I have agreed with Long Clawson’s chief executive Martin Taylor that we will meet as soon as the Competition Commission has made a decision.
“The company has agreed to work with us, the community, local councils and other interested parties to look at developing a masterplan for the site which attempts to save as many jobs and as much cheese manufacturing as possible.
“If the factory can’t be saved in its current form the plan will then also look at what other possible community uses there could be for the land.”
Hartington Creamery has been making cheese since 1875 and is one of only seven dairies licensed to produce Blue Stilton. It also makes other cheeses, including Shropshire Blue and Dovedale.