Fridge site to close when firm cuts jobs


JOBS will be cut when the last products are assembled at a traditional fridge-making site in Bognor Regis.

Polestar Cooling has kept alive the seven decades of refrigeration equipment being manufactured along Shripney Road.

But the loss of a major contract means between ten and 20 of its 45 employees will be made redundant at the end of the year.

The smaller workforce will entail a move from the firm’s base in Widdowson House to smaller premises.

It will remain in the Bognor area and will continue to build specialist vaccine refrigeration equipment. Its managing director has spoken of his optimism for the future even if the company is on a smaller scale than it has been operating with for the past five years.

Phil Polack said: “It is with great regret that we will have to reduce our size.

“But we’ve done well over the past decade and I see no reason why we can’t do the same again.

“With the expertise of our employees and new customer partnerships, we will be well positioned to develop new products to furnish the ever-growing global requirement for medical refrigerators.”

An employee of Polestar, who asked not to be named, said: “We were told the news verbally.

“The workforce are utterly dejected. The news was a complete shock.”

He claimed the loss of the contract was caused by the government’s decision to give a customer a multi-million grant to build a factory to make fridges rather than buy them from Polestar.

The company’s premises are the last remaining presence of the Lec fridge and freezer company which employed a peak of 1,800-1,900 people in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Shripney Road.

The company moved there in around 1948 after starting life in Longford Road in 1942. But it built its last fridges there in December 2004 when its owner moved production. Polestar Cooling started trading 11 years ago with four former Lec employees making specialist refrigeration equipment.

It has grown since then with many employees who used to work for Lec. The need to keep Polestar at the site was emphasised when plans for Sainsbury’s on the rest of the site were proposed.