‘Urgent talks needed over Burberry closure’

Burberry factory, Albion Street, Castleford

Burberry factory, Albion Street, Castleford

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The closure of Burberry’s Castleford factory could have a “massive impact” on businesses and trade in the town, says Wakefield Council’s leader.

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

Coun Peter Box said he has asked Burberry for an urgent meeting to see if anything could be done to get the company to stay in Castleford.

He said: “I first found out about the plans through the press and am really disappointed that Burberry didn’t speak to us beforehand.

“I want to find out whether or not we can still work with them to find alternative sites in the district.

“The problem we’ve got is that we are not sure about how far legally tied in to the new site they are.”

As part of the plans the Castleford site would close and its 700 staff would move to the new Leeds facility which is expected to be in 2019.

Coun Box said: “The closure is going to have a massive impact on Castleford and that’s why I would like to think that Burberry would be willing to think about relocating within our district.

“It’s a big employer in the town and to lose a company like Burberry is not something we want because it impacts on the local economy in different ways. Workers like those at Burberry keep small businesses going.”

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper said: “It’s great that businesses need to expand but the problem we’ve got is that they never expand in our communities.

“We have to make sure that we don’t end up with all of the businesses moving out of our area.”

A spokesman for Burberry said it did not want to comment on the impact on Castleford but said it plans to hand the site back to the community for regeneration.

John Munday, chairman of Castleford Town Centre Partnership, said Burberry’s closure could lead to other businesses in the town centre closing.

Mr Munday said: “Burberry is a big employer based in Castleford town centre and if it does close it could lead to a big hole and the fact that we could have another empty site is a big concern.

“I am disappointed with the decision because it is another case of people in Castleford losing out again.

“I think the impact will be measurable because Burberry has such a presence in the town and having a prestigious name in Castleford is something that people are very proud of.

“The town has suffered for so many years and these plans are such a shame.”