‘Frustrating’ number of job losses


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A town is ‘having the heart ripped out of it’, it has been claimed, after a key employer in the area entered administration.

BFP Wholesale, a bakery and ingredients wholesaler based in Highbridge’s Isleport industrial estate, has already announced 74 redundancies in Highbridge and Sevenoaks.

This comes just two weeks after the Mercury reported Brakes food depot, also located in Isleport, has opened a new site in Portbury which could result in more redundancies.

Highbridge councillor John Parkes told the Mercury he is fearful of the impact on the town.

He said: “It is worrying. It doesn’t bode well for the future.

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“I am frustrated by it. There are plans for jobs to be created in the town, but this is in the future, not now.”

Sedgemoor District Council is currently developing planning for Isleport two, with two sites earmarked for additional businesses.

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However, this is still in the planning stages and has been met with a mixed reaction from residents.

Cllr Parkes believes the key to developing Highbridge is with an economic plan for the town so it doesn’t fall behind the development of Burnham.

He said: “I am fearful for the town. It seems to be all gloss and no substance.

“Burnham is doing OK, what we need now is a real thought-through economic plan in Highbridge which can rejuvenate the town centre.

“It is a wonderful town with wonderful people but it is having the heart ripped out of it.

“Building houses is not the answer, we need to focus on the town centre.”

BFP Wholesale released a statement following the announcement.

A spokesman said: “The company, which employs a total of 165 staff based across four sites in Sevenoaks, Highbridge, Leeds and Livingstone, had undergone a sustained period of declining revenues, which was exacerbated by the withdrawal of its credit insurance.

“The company subsequently ceased trading before the appointment of the joint administrators.

“Upon their appointment, the administrators made a total of 74 redundancies at Highbridge and Sevenoaks. The administrators are looking at the options for all the sites.”

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