Bakery revamp to save 400 jobs

Ablaze: Fletchers Bakery, struck by a massive fire in 2006, plans a major refurbishment.
Ablaze: Fletchers Bakery, struck by a massive fire in 2006, plans a major refurbishment.
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A BAKERY has submitted plans to modernise its Sheffield site in a move it says will help safeguard 400 jobs.

Bosses at the Fletchers Group, whose bakery in Claywheels Lane, Wadsley Bridge, was devastated by fire in 2006, say refurbishment will help them compete in a tough market.

The plan depends on selling part of the site for a new Sainsbury’s superstore, the first in north Sheffield.

The supermarket chain has already submitted a separate planning application for the store but Fletchers has now added its own bid.

Changes involve relocating one-third of the factory, including two production lines and upgrading facilities.

Fletchers managing director Stephen Holding said more than a quarter of his workforce live within the S6 postcode, making the Claywheels Lane bakery ‘a vital part of the local economy’.

He said: “These proposals are crucial to achieving the ambitious but achievable goals we have set for the bakery and its operations.

“We provide work for around 400 people and these plans will help guarantee the future of these jobs.

“If granted consent and subject to Sainsbury’s proposals receiving consent – as this will release the necessary funds – this planning application will lead to the modernisation of production at Claywheels Lane and help us to compete in an increasingly challenging market place.

“The alternative will be to stand still as a business, something which may place our future in Sheffield in jeopardy.”

Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett said: “This is a far cry from the terrible days after the fire when jobs were lost and the future of Fletchers was uncertain.”

He added: “The security and future prosperity which this development could offer is vital, both for the immediate community and optimism and hope at a time of genuine worry for so many families in the north of the city.”