That was the warning this week from one of the region’s politicians, with just weeks until the factory in Stapleton Road closes and after the news that all previously interested parties have withdrawn.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has told Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing that huge investment will be needed in the town and area. He said: “The clock is ticking towards the closure of Pinneys and both UK and Scottish Governments need to wake up to the sheer scale of the impact this will have on Annan and the surrounding area. The level of projects and support the action plan needs to be is likely to cost £10m if it is to really make a difference.”
He also wants to see the whole DG12 area given the status of an enterprise area by the Scottish Government, which would entitle businesses to claim 100 per cent business rates relief, provide allowances for capital investment, a more streamlined planning process and support with skills and training.
Meanwhile, a ‘for sale’ sign is now up outside Pinneys, but politicians say it is likely it will have to be demolished if a buyer can’t be found because keeping it open will incur annual rates of £110,000 as well as costs to keep it wind and watertight. And they pointed out that despite the good location, the building is unsuitable for many firms to take on as it can’t easily be subdivided.
As a result, a call has been made for the Scottish Government to step in and to buy it. The proposal is being put forward by Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell and Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell. David Mundell said: “The last thing Annan needs after losing so many jobs is to have a large boarded up factory at the entrance to the town being left to slowly deteriorate. “We are writing to the Scottish Government calling on them to take on the ownership, management and marketing of the Pinneys site after Young’s leave.” And Oliver Mundell added: “The speed and scale of this number of redundancies in a relatively small town like Annan is devastating, both to those involved and the wider economy. There seems not to be any credible options currently left on the table following the withdrawal of interest by Brown Brothers.
“The Scottish Government has taken on sites in such situations before. In the case of loss-making Prestwick Airport, they bought the business as well as facilitating financial support to other companies.”