One hundred and fifty jobs have been axed at the French-owned Syral sugar refinery in Greenwich, London. The refinery was part of Tate and Lyle until 2007, one of the few industrial users of the Thames. The closure is blamed on changes in EU regulations controlling the sugar market and the refining of wheat flour for glucose, sweeteners and animal feed.
The refinery, one of the oldest on the Thames and in need of major reinvestment, just happens to sit on the Greenwich Peninsula and is a prime site for housing and redevelopment. Are the EU regulations merely a convenient excuse for asset-stripping and housing speculation?
The Thames moves ever further away from its heritage as an industrial artery to the heart of London, becoming a riverscape of endless blocks of flats.