Buyer 'identified' for former Imperial Tobacco factory

Imperial Tobacco
Image caption Imperial Tobacco once employed 1,000 people at the site

A buyer may have been found for one of Nottingham's largest and most recognisable buildings.

The Horizon factory - home to cigarette maker Imperial Tobacco for 44 years and once employing 1,000 people - has been on the market since last March.

A report to the city council says "a purchaser has been identified who will develop the site for employment use".

The report does not name the buyer but said it was "not of the same financial standing as Imperial Tobacco".

History of the Horizon factory

Image copyright Nottingham City Council / Picture the Past
  • Business founded in Nottingham by John Player, who was registered as a tobacconist in 1871
  • He became so successful that seven years later he bought a factory and began manufacturing handmade cigarettes
  • Another three factory blocks (pictures above) were built in the Radford area of Nottingham by the 1880s
  • The current Horizon factory opened in 1972. Costing £14m, it was one of the most modern factories of the time

More than 500 jobs were lost when when the factory shut last year with bosses blaming falling sales and an increase in the illegal tobacco trade for their decision to move out of the UK.

At its height, the 48.5-acre complex on Thane Road, Lenton, was producing 36 billion cigarettes each year.

The report also confirmed Imperial Tobacco, which signed a lengthy lease, has paid the council an undisclosed sum to be released from certain obligations on the land.

A decommissioning process, which involves clearing machinery and traces of tobacco, is under way at the site and is expected to be completed by 2018.

The city council declined to detail the new buyer or the amount Imperial Tobacco had paid.

However, deputy leader Graham Chapman said: "This is a big opportunity for job creation and we were keen to see the site remain in industrial use, so we are delighted that this is what the new owners intend for it."

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