Abattoir interest raises job hopes

OVER 300 jobs could be brought to the area if a meat firm finds the right location.

Campbells Prime Meat is looking at a former abattoir in Whitecross after its Broxburn plant burnt down last month.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the firm's managing director Christopher Campbell said the family-owned business was considering a move into the Lathallan premises.

However, no deal for the site has yet been struck.

Mr Campbell said: "We have not bought it yet and are still considering a few options. I would hope to be able to confirm our position by the end of this month.

"The benefit of Whitecross is that it is only 12 miles away from our current Broxburn site which is good for our staff and customers, and it is close to the M9 for transport links."

Mr Campbell said he was impressed how "enthusiastic and positive" officials and elected members of Falkirk Council had been about the proposal. Talks with Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie had also proved constructive, according to Mr Campbell.

He added: "The people at Falkirk Council, including head of planning John Angell, Douglas Duff in economic development and Councillor Craig Martin, have all been very keen and enthusiastic, which is encouraging."

Commenting on the possible move, Mrs Peattie said: "I think this could be a good news story for Falkirk. The abattoir is a new building, lying empty and if this company relocates, it could be a silver lining for the area.

"As well as job turnover, the site has the capacity to expand, meaning even more jobs potential. It has my 100 per cent support and I really hope it is successful."

The meat firm boss said although the plan would be to move his current 300 staff to the new plant, normal labour turnover could create up to 60 jobs each year.

Campbell Prime Meat was set up by Mr Campbell's father in 1972, although the family has been involved in the meat business since 1923.

It supplies meat to businesses and the public sector across Scotland, including top chef Martin Wishart, Saughton Prison, Rangers and Celtic.

The fire broke out in the early hours of May 5 and led to the former premises being demolished.

Campbell's has already lodged a planning application with Falkirk Council for slight variations on the guidelines for the site.

The abattoir was originally built at a cost of 8 million for Linlithgow firm R.Y. Henderson and opened in September 2006.

However, just months later, weeks after an official opening by Princess Anne, the company ran into financial difficulties and administrators were called in at the end of January with the loss of 62 jobs.