The planned demolition of an old ice-making plant in Fleetwood looks set to pave the way for an expanded new facility and extra jobs.
Fylde Fylde Ice and Cold Storage Company has applied to Wyre planners for demolition work on site for structural safety reasons at its Dock Road site.
The company is looking to replace the old red-brick building with a new ice-making facility which will use more up-to-date methods and will be capable of producing a wider variety of ice products.
The firm, also known as The Ice House, was founded in 1908 to cater for Fleetwood’s expanding fishing industry.
Production of ice at the firm peaked in 1948 at 95,306 tons.
These days, with the large scale fishing fleet long gone, the firm’s main business involves supplying ice to supermarkets.
The company has several sites - four ice-making plants at Fleetwood, Driffield (Yorkshire), South Kirby near Wakefield (Yorkshire) and Newark in Nottinghamshire.
It also has three cold storage sites at Preston, Glasgow and Wallsend near Newcastle.
Of the company’s 320 plus employees, only 13 are currently based at Fleetwood.
But it is hoped that once work on the intended new ice-making facility is completed, more staff will be taken on.
Malcolm Dufton, the company’s property and energy director, said: “We want to grow our employment numbers in Fleetwood and the local council at Wyre seem to support that too.
“As a company we are looking to expand. The idea at Fleetwood is that the new modern plant would allow us to be more flexible in ice production, looking at different sizes, even different flavours, and produce it using more modern and efficient methods.There is a demand for bags of ice from supermarkets because it is actually cheaper and easier to buy it like that than try and make it yourself in a fridge at home.”
Mr Dufton says the council is likely to approve the demolition, which will see another slice of old Fleetwood disappearing.
But instead of it being a sad ending, the company believes the future is bright for the operation at Fleetwood.