Uncertainty over Old Mill Road sees firm plan exit from Portishead

Coffetek, Unit 1 & 2, Portishead Business Park, Old Mill Road. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Coffetek, Unit 1 & 2, Portishead Business Park, Old Mill Road. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Dozens of jobs will leave Portishead in 2019, as a manufacturing firm exits amid uncertainty surrounding the town’s industrial heartbeat.

Coffetek will move from its Old Mill Road warehouse to Almondsbury in the new year, with the firm unable to find a new home in Portishead.

The beverage dispenser manufacturer has been based in the town for several years, but Portishead is set to miss out as it grows and hires more staff after it moves.

Standard Life submitted a planning application in June to demolish the warehouses at Old Mill Road before building hundreds of flats, plus leisure offerings including a cinema and restaurants.

The plans are largely unpopular in the town with many people fearing the loss of employment opportunities, and North Somerset Council insists it wants the vast majority of the site to remain as designated employment land.

More than 400 comments have been entered on the council’s online planning portal – with the majority objecting to the proposals.

But regardless, Standard Life is set to evict Old Mill Road’s tenants – many of which have been there for decades – in March as it presses on with its plans.

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A Coffetek spokesman told the Times it is only relocating due to Standard Life’s decision not to renew leases in the area, and said the move will include no mandatory redundancies.

They said: “Coffetek is committed to its employees and customers and will continue to do so in the new premises which will be located in Almondsbury approximately 15 miles from our current location here at Portishead.

“The business has spent several months finding a suitable building as close to Portishead as possible to meet the needs and the growth we anticipate over the next several years.

“We are investing in new manufacturing assembly lines, plant and equipment, offices, and long-term leases.

“We expect to continue our activity in the Bristol region for many years.”

The spokesman added Coffetek will continue to grow at its new base, with up to 30 new staff being hired and an investment of £1million, which is sure to be missed by Portishead.