Council leader defends decision not to attend Moy Park talks with company bosses

Launch of the Wisbech 2020 Vision. Cllr Alan Melton.

Launch of the Wisbech 2020 Vision. Cllr Alan Melton. - Credit: Archant

COUNCIL leader Alan Melton defended his decision not to attend talks with Moy Park in Wisbech yesterday claiming the company was never going to lift the closure threat.

“The deal had been done and they’re going,” the Fenland Council leader said.

What was important now, argued Cllr Melton, was the future and that meant doing everything possible for the people of Wisbech.

“They intend to keep their site in Wisbech and we can help, where possible, to re generate that,” he said.

“The saving grace is that Moy Park is not going to close it completely- and that is important on many levels. They will continue to pay business rates – and the council retains half of those and that is important.”

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He said independent councillor Virginia Bucknor had told him in advance of her plan to attend talks at the plant which included Fenland’s chief executive Paul Medd, officers from the economic development team and Moy Park executives.

“The truth is we have no money, no incentives we can give Moy Park to stay in Wisbech,” he said. The company had decided to move to Grantham, accompanying it with a £20 million investment, and there was little Fenland Council could do about it.

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He said issues raised by Cllr Bucknor over transport links to Anwick near Spalding -where Wisbech workers had been offered alternative employment by Moy Park- were sensible and constructive.

“We will of course talk too with Moy Park about safeguarding their presence in Wisbech- if they want to talk about some kind of partnership then we’ll row in with that,” said Cllr Melton.

The council leader also revealed he was at Westminster today to talk to Government officials and he would be lobbying on behalf of Wisbech and Fenland to secure extra investment.

“However the days when we could trot to Brussels to secure funding or enlist the help of MPs to save jobs are long gone,” he said.

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