Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Paignton factory to close

Paignton seems to be particularly unlucky when it comes to closure of factories and loss of jobs. Food manufacturer Uniq has announced that it is going to close its 'Riviera Desserts' site in the Bay with nearly 400 being made redundant. A little background on the company: it makes chilled convenience food and manufactures in France, Germany, The Netherlands and Poland as well as the UK. Despite having invested a sizeable amount of money at Paignton the decision has been made to move production to its other facilities in Somerset and Shropshire. This will not happen overnight, it's expected to take 18 months to implement the plan.

I see it is being suggested by some that poor road communications into Torbay is at least part of the reasoning behind this shock decision. If this is so then here one can see a real dilemma - on the one hand, like 'The Friends of the Earth' I don't want to see more and more of our countryside under new roads but at the same time I don't like the idea of a constant haemorrhaging of jobs resulting from inadequate transport infrastructure. One argument says "make new roads and the traffic will just increase to fill them". My view is that good roads between major centres of population - and Torbay is one such - are a necessary evil. There is an environmental cost, usually conveniently ignored, in making the road in the first place plus the ongoing maintenance in resurfacing etc but this is more than offset by the savings in both pollution and accidents that should follow assuming the same traffic volumes. With the current escalations in fuel prices it's no wonder that companies are so desperate to set up close to motorways or dual carriageways.

There has been a proposal for a by-pass at Kingskerswell for I don't know how many years and construction would certainly help reinvigorate Torbay. I have to confess I don't know the state of play on this scheme, perhaps I need to do some research.

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