Jobs gloom at Peak factory amid boost

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Scores of jobs will be axed at an internationally-renowned manufacturing plant in the High Peak – but the site is set to benefit from a major transformation.

Forty roles are to be lost at Dow Hyperlast in Birch Vale as manufacturing activity is being moved abroad, it has been revealed.

However, bosses intend to transform the Station Road site into a state-of-the-art customer service centre – but no jobs will be created.

High Peak MP Andrew Bingham said: “Naturally I’m disappointed at the loss of any jobs – but the retention and transformation of the site into a customer service centre shows that the company is still committed to Birch Vale and the High Peak area.”

The factory produces a material called polyurethane which is used in a wide variety of products including toys, aircraft wings, vehicle bumpers and car park floor coatings.

A spokesman for Dow Hyperlast confirmed that 40 manufacturing roles would be lost at the plant by September.

He said manufacturing activity would be relocated to other locations in Europe.

He added: “The company is providing support for affected employees to ensure they receive career advice and, where appropriate, training to help them secure employment with other companies in the area.”

The manufacturing plant is to be transformed into a state-of-the-art centre – giving UK and northern European businesses the chance to receive technical support and advice on its materials.

The spokesman said: “Birch Vale is ideally located to provide this centre due to its newly-opened state-of-the-art laboratories, which deliver innovative solutions to customers.

“At present there are no plans to increase the workforce at the centre.

“This does not mean that, as the centre grows, there will not be the potential for expansion in the future.”

Dow Hyperlast has been based in Birch Vale for more than 30 years and served as a major employer of local people.

The business is part of the Dow Chemical Company which has its headquarters in America.

Mr Bingham added: “Along with other companies in the High Peak, Dow Hyperlast do some very prestigious and technical work which demonstrates the quality of the labour force available in this area.

“I have been in touch with Dow to try to arrange a meeting with them very soon to discuss this and other plans that they have for the site.”