Politicians must do more to attract new investment into Lynn following of Gardman’s plans to end its operations in the town, its MP has admitted.
Up to 150 jobs could go when the company’s premises in West Lynn and on the Hardwick Narrows estate close later this year.
And a councillor has called for urgent talks with the company’s bosses in a bid to reverse the decision.
Gardman, which supplies gardening and wild bird-care products, has said it intends to move its operations to a new, purpose-built warehouse in Daventry, following a year-long review of its business.
The company claims it did look at alternative options, including locations in the Lynn area, but could not find a suitable solution.
Relocation packages are on offer for staff who are prepared to go to Daventry and some staff may be accommodated in vacant posts at the firm’s head office in Peterborough.
North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said the announcement was a “setback” for the town, which had followed a long run of good economic news, with expansion and investment by companies including Mars, Bespak and Centrica, whose Lynn power station he is due to visit today ahead of the start of major renovation works.
He said he hoped workers who are affected by the decision would be able to find alternative work.
But he added: “We’re going to have to work doubly hard to bring more business into King’s Lynn. Part of my agenda, working with the borough council, is to make King’s Lynn more attractive for inward investment and encourage more high end engineering companies to come to King’s Lynn.
Meanwhile, Norfolk county councillor Alexandra Kemp described the announcement as a “bombshell” and questioned whether council officers had been asked to help the firm.
She also invited Gardman bosses to meet her and senior officials in an effort to find an alternative solution.
She said: “We are absolutely dedicated to doing all we can to help businesses to promote our strategic objective for economic prosperity in Norfolk. Lynn would like to stay part of your forward plans for development.”