TWO thousand years of tradition in Castleford have come to an end with the closure of the town’s last flour mill.
ADM Milling – which runs the former Allinson’s mill – ceased production of stone ground flour at the site on February 10, following a consultation period earlier this year.
The move spells the end for the world’s largest traditional stone-grinding mill, which has been in production at Aire Street for 100 years, raising concerns for the future of the site.
Alison Drake, chairman of Castleford Heritage Trust, said: “Obviously we’re concerned about what will happen to that building because it’s a historic site.
“We have milled corn in this area going back 2,000 years at least and the mill has certainly been there over a 100 years, so there’s a long tradition in the town.
“If it has to be developed we would want that building to be retained as a heritage building so it’s protected, and we will be watching the development with a keen eye.
“It’s a big blow to the town when the people and the community are fighting to build the town up. This is a precious part of our story and the thing is they were skilled jobs, they were craftsmen, and these skills are dying.”
A spokesman for ADM confirmed that some of the mill’s nine employees are being transferred to its mill in Knottingley, while others have left the company.
He said: “After careful consideration and consultation with personnel, ADM informed employees at its stone-ground flour mill in Castleford of the company’s decision to close the site.
“The decision to close is not a reflection on the quality of the mill’s product or people. Rather, it is based on the highly competitive marketplace in which we operate.”
Concerned Castleford councillor Tony Wallis said: “I think one of the things about Castleford is we need jobs coming in, not jobs going out, and it’s also the tradition of it.
“The mill produces something that has a future so I can’t understand why it has to close. We got the news of Nestlé closing and now we’ve got this news. I just feel it’s sad we’re losing the jobs that have been here for years.”
The mill is leased to ADM milling by site owners British Waterways North.
Simon Currass, estates manager for British Waterways, said: “It is sad news that ADM Milling has taken the business decision to cease trading from Castleford Mill.
“While British Waterways will be taking a keen interest in the future of the mill it remains under lease to ADM Milling.”