'Devastated' council pledges to help Holwell Works staff

Melton Council says it is ‘devastated’ by the proposed closure of Holwell Works and it is talking to the firm’s management to assess how it can help support employees there.
Councillor Pip Allnatt, leader of Melton Borough CouncilCouncillor Pip Allnatt, leader of Melton Borough Council
Councillor Pip Allnatt, leader of Melton Borough Council

Saint-Gobain PAM UK has announced that it plans to move production of its access covers and gratings to its plant in France.

This will result in the loss of 161 jobs at a site which has traditionally been one of the biggest local employers since its first furnace was tapped in 1881.

Councillor Pip Allnatt, leader of Melton Borough Council, told the Melton Times: “We are here to support our community and are devastated for the local residents losing jobs and livelihoods.

Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia KearnsRutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns
Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns

"We are currently in active discussions with Saint Gobain to understand how we can support their employees throughout this process.

"We work closely with Department of Work and Pensions and can help with finding alternative employment for people at risk.

"In addition, our Community Support Hub can help people access free re-skilling and training opportunities as well as mental health support.

"Our Business Support Hub can also provide free practical advice for those wishing to start a business.”

Holwell Works at Asfordby HillHolwell Works at Asfordby Hill
Holwell Works at Asfordby Hill

The borough council has also been in discussions with Arla Melton Mowbray Creamery after its recent decision to review the future of its town centre dairy, where 60 people work.

In addition, Asfordby Hill-based S&J European Haulage has given notice to appoint administrators, putting 80 jobs under threat, to add to a bleak start to 2024 for the local Melton economy.

Councillor Pip Allnatt, leader of Melton Borough Council, said: “We would always encourage businesses who are experiencing difficulties or considering closures to open-up discussions with the council to understand what support can be offered.

"While we can’t ultimately change any commercial decisions businesses make, what we can do is inform them of all the support that the council and its partners can provide.”

Holwell Works foundry workers pictured in the 1920sHolwell Works foundry workers pictured in the 1920s
Holwell Works foundry workers pictured in the 1920s

Melton MP Alicia Kearns described the planned Holwell Works closure as ‘concerning’ but she insisted there would be extra job opportunities created in the area by the government investing ‘Levelling Up’ funding in the area.

A large portion of the money will be used at the Stockyard, on the livestock market site, to develop food production units and enhanced event and festival facilities. The MP also predicted the opening of the Melton relief road late next year would also stimulate the economy.

Mrs Kearns said: “As one of Melton’s biggest employers, reports that Holwell Works could close by the end of this year are concerning.

“I will continue to do all I can to boost job opportunities and drive growth to our town to ensure the job security of members of our communities.

Staff in the pattern shop at Holwell Works pictured in 1973Staff in the pattern shop at Holwell Works pictured in 1973
Staff in the pattern shop at Holwell Works pictured in 1973

“Our share of Rutland and Melton’s £23.7million Levelling Up Funding will transform Melton by boosting employment opportunities in our manufacturing, retail, tourism and evening economies.

“Building the bypass and the housing we are building will help ensure people can get to Melton and are attracted to our area alongside the economic investment.”

Saint-Gobain PAM UK, which says its Holwell site is now ‘uncompetitive’ in its sector, is consulting with staff over the closure with the site expected to remain open only until the end of this year.