For sale: Search for a new owner to take on former Walkers snack factory

The Walkers factory in Peterlee closed in December.
The Walkers factory in Peterlee closed in December.

A new owner could soon be bagged for a food factory which closed its doors with the loss of more than 350 jobs.

The Walkers site in Peterlee shut in December, bringing more than 50 years of crisp production in the town to an end.

Pepsico will retain the distribution centre in Peterlee, but is selling its former Walkers crisp factory.

Pepsico will retain the distribution centre in Peterlee, but is selling its former Walkers crisp factory.

But the plant could yet be relaunched, with the 16 acre site on the market as a new owner is sought for the business.

The brochure for the factory sets out it is a prime position for access to the A19 and nearby ports, is proximity to other food manufacturers including Country Style and Kookaburra and the space on the land which could be used to expand any company which moves in.

Pepsico, which owns Walkers, will retain the neighbouring distribution centre in Stephenson Road, on the North East Industrial Estate.

In its sales pitch, commercial estate agent Cushman and Wakefield says: “The Walkers factory has a long history of production dating back to the 1960s, with the factory expanding over the years to the current size and layout.

The Walkers factory has a long history of production dating back to the 1960s, with the factory expanding over the years to the current size and layout.

Cushman and Wakefield

“As a result, the building comprises the original buildings along with several extensions of differing age and design, which have bene added to over time.

“Internally the building is divided into various areas including preparation, production, packaging, warehouse, office and staff amenities.”

They include a canteen, ladies and gents toilets and lockers, a car park with 200 spaces, reception and security hut.

The asking price will only be revealed on application, with economic support being offered via Business Durham, which can provide practical help and guidance on growing operations.

However, the papers also highlight that while the buildings are on an industrial estate, the some land in the surrounding area has been allocated for housing, which means the site could have alternative uses, subject to planning.

Walkers workers had been due to be made redundant on New Year’s Eve last year, but production at the factory, which made lines including Crinkles, Walkers Sensations, Scampi Fries, Bacon Fries, Cheese Moments and Cheetos Twisted stopped a week ahead of schedule.

Pepsico said the decision to close the factory was not a reflection of its workforce - which had included families who had dedicated decades of work to the firm - but was taken as it looked to make “productivity and efficiency savings crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainable growth of our business in the UK.”

The GMB union, which represented staff, said the said the move was a “massive blow” for the town with the company putting profit before people.

It had hoped another snack firm could be found to take it on as a going concern.