Refurbishment is currently underway at the Stapleton Road factory, with 120 new jobs in the pipeline when it reopens as a food processing plant next year.
And on the anniversary of the devastating closure which rocked the town, there was more good news as council officials revealed that the site’s new owner, Russian businessman Keshav Bhagat, is also considering a second development elsewhere on the grounds.
He bought it earlier this year and is undertaking a multi million pound refurbishment and at last week’s meeting of the Annan Regeneration Steering Group, his commitment to the area was firmly underlined by the local authority’s business manager David Gardiner. He said: “Mr Keshav Bhagat has other plans for the site. They are completely confidential at this stage but very exciting. The owner is very entrepreneurial so we are very hopeful we will see something very positive on site.”
Giving an update on works at the factory, he added: “They are working really hard on the site. The building was lots of small units and it is all getting changed internally to make it more open plan. A lot of partition walls are coming down.” He added: “Pinneys was very labour intensive but the new factory will be more technical with laser cutting, etc. People will be sitting on tablets.”
And he noted that production is “probably likely” to start in the first quarter of 2020, adding: “The jobs will be coming, they are not too far away from starting that recruitment process now. It will be completely different from the traditional process. They want people that have their company values.”
A team from Dumfries and Galloway Council are working closely with Mr Bhagat, meeting on a fortnightly basis and advising on recruitment, human resources issues and Scottish employment law.