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Working to protect cheese making factory

This is an archived press release

Friday 8 August 2008

8 August 2008

Working to protect cheese making history

The new owners of a Hartington cheese making factory where 180 jobs are under threat have said they work with local people to save as many posts as possible.

The offer came during a meeting between Martin Taylor, chief executive of Long Clawson Dairy Ltd, and Jim Dixon, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority yesterday (Thursday 7 August).

Long Clawson Dairy Ltd announced last week that it had bought Dairy Crest’s Stilton and speciality cheese business, including the Hartington Creamery.

The company is currently consulting with staff about proposals that could eventually see the Hartington factory closed. Cheese making production could be moved to one of the company’s existing sites in Leicestershire.

During yesterday’s meeting the chief executives discussed the company’s plans for the site in Hartington and the authority outlined its concerns about the potential loss of jobs and the impact this would have on the local community.

The authority has also held discussions on the future of the site with MPs, local authorities, local farmers and Hartington Parish Council.

Narendra Bajaria, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “The chief executive of Long Clawson Dairy has made it clear that he is willing to work with us and the local community to find the best possible solution for the staff at the Hartington Creamery.

“However, he also said that the business they have bought would, in its current form, make significant losses in the future.

“If following consultation the site does close he has got an open mind about what would be the best alternative use of the site. One option discussed was the possibility of some cheese making with a visitor centre and retail units but we don’t want to rule anything in or out at this stage.

“While we found the meeting constructive we remain concerned. We are keen to protect employment in the rural economy and support local food production.

“The Peak District National Park Authority will work with the local community, local councils and Hartington Parish Council to discuss different options to find the best possible solution.”

Stilton cheese has been made at the creamery since the 1870s. The site also produces speciality blue cheeses, including Shropshire Blue and Dovedale.

It is likely to be several months before firmer proposals for the future of the site are decided.

This is an archived press release

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