A sale of Harvestime (2005)’s Walsall bakery was being delayed by a wrangle over the lease, as British Baker went to press. A buyer is waiting to take over the site, which is in administration. But the deal, which would secure 320 jobs, is being held up by the site’s landlord.
John Kelly of administrators Begbies Traynor said: "We are waiting for the landlord to assign the lease, but he is stalling for some reason. He has the freehold and we cannot get his permission for a new lease."
The landlord is Shipinvest 1, a vehicle of former New Rathbones director John Lister. Pressure is mounting locally to persuade him to assign the lease. Organisations including Advantage West Midlands have held emergency meetings to discuss the bakery. And Walsall North MP David Winnick has also stepped in to try to help save the Walsall site.
Meanwhile, the bakery is trading well in administration, commercial manager Brian Clarke told British Baker.