Leeds ice cream factory to close down

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An ice cream firm is set to shut down a long-established factory at the heart of a growing new Leeds housing estate.

But bosses at R and R Ice Cream have vowed that none of the 135 staff employed at their factory in east Leeds will be out of a job.

Earlier this year R and R announced that they were considering alternatives for the future of their plant in Cross Gates, which is opposite the old Vickers tank factory on Manston Lane.

And this week a spokesman confirmed that, following discussions with the consultative group which represents the workforce at Cross Gates, the decision has been taken to close the site at the end of the year.

He said: “Since a review of the site’s future was announced on April 29, the elected consultative group has met regularly to examine all possible alternatives to closure.

“To help with this process, detailed information has been provided by the company on the proposals put forward and their financial implication. The consultative group has now confirmed that it agrees with the company’s assessment that the proposed closure of the factory is the only viable financial option.”

The Cross Gates site was acquired from Treats Ice Cream when that firm merged with Richmond Ice Cream.

But when this year’s consultation was launched, the current owners said that despite investing around £23 million in the site, the ageing buildings were now in need of a costly overhaul.

Bosses also said the increased number of houses being built in the area, which has traditionally been used for industrial purposes, has impacted on operations. Current work by developers Bellway Homes has seen a number of new houses built nearby.

The spokesman added: “The area is now increasingly residential in nature which means it is becoming much more difficult to manufacture without upsetting residents. There will be no loss of jobs to Yorkshire as this is a re-deployment with all staff being offered jobs at R and R’s Leeming Bar site in North Yorkshire.”

R and R confirmed the next phase of talks with the consultative group would include possible ways of helping employees to travel from Leeds to Leeming Bar such as providing transport. R and R has its headquarters in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. The company’s Leeming Bar site employs 665 people and is believed to be the largest ice cream factory in Europe. The firm also has a smaller site in Bodmin, Cornwall.

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