Arla Foods has put forward plans to close its plant and distribution centre in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the UK ahead of the opening of its mega dairy in Aylesbury.

The Cravendale milk owner said the proposed closure, which is scheduled for April, could lead to the loss of up to 370 jobs.

“Our new dairy in Aylesbury is on track to be processing milk, commercially, by the autumn and volumes are ahead of our original expectations,” Lars Dalsgaard, head of Arla’s UK supply chain, said.

The co-op said it could “potentially” outsource the distribution functions from the Ashby site to a third-party provider. Milk will still be collected from farms supplying the Ashby dairy and delivered to other sites.

Asked if the closure of the Ashby site was part of Arla’s plans in the UK when it decided to build the dairy in Aylesbury, a spokesperson said: “Our proposal is based on a supply chain review which has concluded that the investment level required at Ashby, due to its age, makes it more cost effective to transfer volume from Ashby dairy. 

“Aylesbury is key to our growth plan and we continually seek to win new business. Similarly we review our supply operations on an ongoing basis to maximise efficiencies across the group. We have  won additional fresh milk volume in the last 12 months and our phase I production volumes at Aylesbury are ahead of our expectations.”