Arran Creamery to close

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The Arran Creamery in Kilmory is to close with the loss of six jobs.

The Scottish Creameries were put up for sale in April 2018 when First Milk announced that its Arran and Campbeltown creameries were not core to its business strategy for the future.

Despite significant effort over the past 12 months, it has not been possible to conclude the sale of the Torrylinn site. As a result, First Milk has commenced employee consultation about its proposed intention to close the creamery.

First Milk can also confirm that it is in discussions with its local Kintyre farmer members, with the active involvement of the Scottish Government, which will hopefully conclude with the Campbeltown Creamery being owned by the local farmers.

It is envisaged that the farmers will form a new co-operative who will operate the creamery independently of First Milk. However, the operation will be significantly scaled down.

First Milk chief executive Shelagh Hancock said: ‘We are deeply disappointed that it has not been possible to conclude a sale of Arran Creamery. We remain hopeful that it will be possible to secure the future of the Campbeltown Creamery in the ownership of the local farmers and the proposed changes that we have announced today will help with that.

‘We fully appreciate that these developments have significant consequences for colleagues at the creameries and the local community, but it is important that we act in the best interest of the wider business and our farmer members and continue with the solid progress we have made in strengthening and developing First Milk.

‘We regret the impact this decision will have on our colleagues and are committed to treating those affected fairly and with consideration during this difficult time.’

The award-winning cheese is still made by hand in open vats using traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. The milk comes from just two farms on the island.

Only last month the Banner reported that the creamery won the Dairy Product of the Year at the Sottish Food and Drink Awards.

The creamery, which was first opened in 1947 by King Goerge VI, was later owned by the Scottish Milk Marketing Board before being taken over by First Milk in 2007.